How to Prevent & Remove Ice Dams on Your Roof

Homeowners in Maryland and Pennsylvania are used to managing snow and ice in the winter months. While icicles in the wintertime look pretty, they are actually a sign that there is something serious happening with your home’s roof. The good news is icicles or ice dams can be avoided or fixed when you know how to fix the underlying problem.

What is an Ice Dam?

Ice dams occur when melting snow freezes into large icicles at the end of your roof, near the gutters and soffit. This ice buildup acts as a dam and prevents melting snow from properly draining off your rooftop. If not taken care of, the excess water can seep under the roof shingles and leak into your attic damaging your home’s interior.

What Causes Ice Dams

There are three necessary factors that cause dams to form. The first is snow on your roof, which is unavoidable in PA and MD. The next two factors are variations in your roof temperatures. The top peak of the roof is above 32 degrees Fahrenheit while the lower surface is below. When this happens, the snow at the top of your roof begins to melt and drain. But, when it reaches the lower temp, it freezes mid-fall causing icicles.

How to Identify a Problem

You may have a problem if you notice:

●      Large icicles hanging from your roof or gutters

●      Ice is coming through the soffit or behind the gutters

●      Water is leaking into a door or window frame

●      There is water or ice on the exterior of your home

How to Prevent Ice Dams

The underlying factors in roof temperature variations is poor ventilation and insulation in your attic. Both are things that you can fix and control with the right knowledge. To make sure this process is completed the right way, you should contact a roofing expert for help.

Proper winterization of your roof includes:

1.      Adding insulation to your attic to prevent heat from rising to the roof.

2.      Installing roof and soffit vents to allow heat to escape.

3.      Insulate lighting fixtures and stairwells to the attic to eliminate escaped heat.

4.      Plug any holes or cracks in the ceiling or drywall.

Now is the perfect time to take a look at your roof and attic because the heat is more bearable during cooler months and our first snowfall has yet to arrive. Have questions? Contact the expert roofing team at Bealing for a free roof inspection.