How To Prevent Ice Dams

How To Prevent Ice Dams

As fall passes and winter marches on, it brings with it many unique challenges that all homeowners have to contend with, like having to clear your garden of dead leaves constantly, or having to wake up earlier each morning to de-ice your car.

These challenges count for your roof as well, as the cold weather, snow storms and heavy rain fall can cause a lot of costly damage to your roof, most notably in the form of ice dams.

Ice dams are ridges of ice that form along the edges of your roof and prevent snow and water from being able to drain off your roof.

Ice dams occur when the heated air from your home is able to leak through your unheated attic. This then has a knock on effect on the snow on your roof, as the heat escaping your attic melts the underside of the snow. The melted snow then falls down your roof until it reaches a cold spot, where it freezes into ice, forming a dam or blockade.

This can cause damage to your home as the dams prevent snow and rain from being able to drain from your roof. This water then leaks down through cracks and openings in your roof, damaging the ceilings and walls in your home.

So, now that you know why they’re a problem, here are our tips for avoiding ice dams:


Insulate your attic

Since the main cause of ice dams is heat loss through your home, then making sure your home is properly insulated is a great first step in preventing them from happening. This is especially important if you have an older home, and think your insulation may need updating.


Seal any air leaks

It is important to seal air leaks to prevent any hot air from rising up into the attic, as this will prevent the hot air from then rising through your roof and melting the snow to begin with.


Purchase heating rails and ice melt socks

Heating cables are exactly what they sound like, cables that heat up to melt the ice on your roof, allowing water to run off into your gutters.

Ice melt socks are also fairly self-explanatory; socks of calcium chloride ice melt that are lain over the roof to create channels that allow water to run off your roof.

Please note that these items may have to be installed by a professional.


Don’t let snow build up on your roof

This is vital in preventing ice dams from being able to form in the first place.

Take care as this can be an arduous, even dangerous task to undertake, so it is recommended that you use proper equipment, such as a roof rake, or hire a professional.

Luckily, one of the benefits of having metal roofing is that the smooth surface of a metal roof makes it much harder for snow to cling to the roof and build up in the first place. This gives you peace of mind in your battle against ice dams.