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Preventing Water Damage from an Ice Dam this Winter

Winter is here again. For people in northern climates, this means snow might be on the way. While snowfall can form positive, lifelong memories for children and parents, it can also be a nightmare for homeowners. It’s a huge hassle having to repeatedly shovel your driveway. But this inconvenience pales in comparison to the headache of dealing with an ice dam. Here’s how you can prevent water damage to your home from ice dams this winter.

What Is an Ice Dam?

Have you never heard of an ice dam? It’s basically a buildup of ice on your roof that can lead to a host of problems. They are often caused by snow melting on higher parts of your roof, and then refreezing toward the bottom where temperatures are colder. Water builds up behind the ice dam as snow continues melting. This will can lead to a variety of problems—the most noteworthy being a leaky roof. As you can imagine, this isn’t an ideal situation in the middle of winter. If it comes down to needing to fix the roof then make sure you use tradesman from a recognized union

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How Will You Know There’s Something Wrong?

You can preemptively spot a forming ice dam if there’s a lot of ice toward the bottom part of your roof. It’s prudent to continually check up on the status of your roof throughout the winter, just to be sure no ice is building up. If you fail to notice this, you might start seeing damp spots on the ceiling of your top floor. Once this happens, you need to take immediate steps to preventing long-term damage to your home.

Steps to Prevent Ice Dam Damage

The first step to mitigating damage from an ice dam is to remove all snow and ice from your roof. When you take away the prerequisites for an ice dam, you can avoid the hassle of dealing with the aftermath. It’s important to be careful while getting rid of the snow and ice. You can accidentally hurt the roof during this process. A puncture or broken shingle will also cause water to leak through into your house.

If you’re unfortunate enough to already have water coming inside, now’s not the time to panic. You need to quickly act to stop the breach from completely ruining your interior walls, or interfering with the electrical system. It’s essential you immediately find a way to drain as much water as possible from behind the ice dam. Then, have someone come out to assess the damage. You will need to fix any leaks and get rid of all ice on the roof as soon as possible. It’s recommended people in colder climates use a homeowners insurance calculator to see how to get covered for flooded roofs.  

Other Preventative Measures to Stopping Ice Dams

As already mentioned, ice dams are typically created because the roof is warmer on top than toward the bottom. You can reduce this by making sure your attic is sealed off from the rest of your home. This will keep heat from rising to the top of the attic, thus causing snow to melt.

It’s also important to have good roof ventilation. Without this, your roof won’t be able to maintain a consistent temperature. You should also make sure you have good insulation in your attic. Insulation will do even more to keep the top of your roof from getting too warm. Taking these preventative steps can help save you a lot of time and heartache down the line.

Your holiday season can be ruined by the results of an ice dam. Make sure you keep track of buildup on your roof. Consider these points when determining how to combat the ill effects of ice dams.