Ice Dam Prevention

With the weather finally warming a little Ice Dams are a cause for concern.

Birth of an Ice Dam
1. Heated air collects in the attic and warms the roof, except at the eaves.
2. Snow starts melting on the warm roof and then freezes as it reaches the cold eaves.
3. Ice accumulates along the eaves, forming a dam. Melting water from the warm roof backs up behind the ice dam and flows under the shingles, and eventually into the house.

Fast Fixes
We do not recommend chipping away at ice dams with a hammer, chisel, or shovel is bad for your roofing—and dangerous for you. And throwing salt on them will do more to harm to your plantings than to the ice. Short of praying for warm weather, here are two stop-gap measures we recommend:

•Blow in cold air: Take a box fan into the attic and aim it at the underside of the roof where water is actively leaking in. This targeted dose of cold air will freeze the water in its tracks. “You’ll stop the leak in a matter of minutes,”says This Old House general contractor Tom Silva.

•Remove it: Pull off snow with a long-handled aluminum roof rake while you stand safely on the ground. A rake with wheels won’t harm the roofing.

Long Term:

It seems the best long term solution to prevent an ice dam is sealing warm air leaks into the attic while increasing your attic insulation and ventilation. You may want to contact a general contractor or home inspector to check out your home.