How to Prevent or Fix an Ice Dam This Winter

How to Prevent or Fix an Ice Dam This WinterAfter January’s wild weather, most homeowners’ first thought is probably not maintaining their roof. However, those sparkling icicles on your eaves may be a sign of trouble above from ice dams, or thick ice ridges on overhangs that can damage your home. So what can you do about them?

The Ice Dam Cometh

An ice dam forms when heavy snowfall combines with periods of freezing temperatures. Your home’s indoor air then leaks into the attic, warming the roof’s underside. Snow and ice above melt and drain down the roof to the eaves, where  the water refreezes into icicles and ridges. Ice dams will damage your roof and gutters, and cause water leaks that damage floors, walls and ceilings and result in soggy insulation that attracts mold even in winter.

Prevention Tips

If you suspect ice dams, you will need to take preventive steps beyond having the leaks fixed, as that will not prevent future problems.

  • Look for and seal air leaks and leaky ductwork.
  • Add insulation to the attic, ensuring it does not block ventilation
  • Make sure there is enough ventilation to keep the roof’s underside cool.
  • Clean debris from gutters to prevent ice build-ups, or hire a contractor to do it.
  • Have an energy or air-sealing specialist evaluate your home and recommend improvements.

Quick Fixes

Once you know you have an ice dam, getting on the roof or hacking away at the ice yourself will not help and is dangerous. Instead, try the following tips:

  • Put a box fan in the attic, aimed at the area where water is leaking in. This targeted, cold air will re-freeze and stop the leak in minutes.
  • Use a long-handled roof rake to safely pull the snow off of the roof from below.

If you think your roof may be developing ice dams, or if you simply want to keep your HVAC system running efficiently this winter, contact us at Aladdin Heating & Cooling. We have been serving Warren, Sterling Heights, and the broader Southeast Michigan region since 1945, and we look forward to serving you today.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in Warren, Michigan about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).  For more information about ice dams and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.

Image courtesy of Shutterstock

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