Ice Dams: What is a Roof Ice Dam and How Do You Prevent it?

Ice Dams are a thick ridge of ice that build up on the eaves of your home. This blog shares more detail on how roof ice dams form in MN and offers attic insulation as one way to prevent them.

Ice Dams.   We’ve all heard about them but what is an ice dam?

Ice Dams are a thick ridge of ice that build up on the eaves of your home.  They are caused when snow starts to melt and run down the roof, and then re-freezes when it reaches the eaves.   The warm air on the top of your roof causes the snow to melt, and it runs down the pitch of your house to the cold eaves where it gets trapped and then freezes.

Moisture is always attracted to the coldest surface it can find.  If it is cold enough, it will freeze.  This is the same reason you may find frost on the bottom of your old windows or patio doors inside your home.   On your roof it is just worse because the melt off literally rolls down-hill to the eave where it collects.What is an ice dam

Once the ice dam has been formed, it only gets worse.   Any additional water that rolls down towards it gets trapped underneath the dam and it can seep into your home, causing water damage.   On a large scale that damage can cause paint to peel, ceilings to be replaced, floors to be warped, insulation to rot, and window treatments to be replaced.

**Fun fact**  Glacial ice dams are the same thing, but on a much larger scale.   With a glacial ice dam the frozen glacier moves until it gets blocked by a river, and the backup of water causes a lake.   In Minnesota that gives us a place to go visit in the summer.   In your home, the backup could result in an insurance claim.

How do you prevent an ice dam?  There are several actions you can take to prevent an ice dam.

When snow starts to pile up take a large roof rake and remove the snow from the eaves.  Pay special attention to any snow buildup around roof vents and make sure the downspouts on your gutters are clear so drainage can occur.

Attic insulation is a great way to prevent ice dams.   By making sure your attic is properly insulated you are both trapping the warm air inside your home, and with proper ventilation, you are ensuring that the roof is staying cool.   A cool roof will not melt the snow, therefore working to prevent the main cause of ice dams.

Universal Windows Direct can help prevent ice dams from forming. Universal Windows Direct can help prevent ice dams from forming.

Is your attic insulated?   Do you have the proper ventilation in your attic to keep your roof cool?   Contact Universal Windows Direct, MN today for a FREE consultation on your current attic.   A small amount of time now can prevent huge problems later.

Call us today at 612-866-2888 to schedule your appointment!



Author:  Melissa Brager, Universal Windows Direct, MN