How to Manage Ice Dams

Saturday, December 8th, 2018 by Victoria Cosma

What causes ice dams to form?

Ice dams are made by heat that rises through your roof from your house melting snow that sits on top of your roof. Once this happens, the melted snow starts running down the roof until it reaches the edge. Once it reaches the edge of the roof, the water refreezes and the process continues to repeat itself. Soon, the water can't run down because there is a block of ice petruding and stopping the flow of water like a river dam, hence the name. As a result, you now have water sitting up on your roof unable to go anywhere except down into your home. 

How to Manage Ice Dams - Image 1

What steps can be taken?

First, ice dam leaks can be prevented properly by protecting your roof. Installing extra Ice & Water barrier will aid greatly in keeping the water that is sitting on your roof from coming inside. At Klaus Larsen, we install 9 feet of Ice & water barrier to ensure that your home is protected. The barrier sticks to the plywood decking on the roof and seals it from water trying to seep in. Properly installed shingles around the valleys and keeping the gutters clear from debris can also aid in this process. Aside from preventative measures, there are also several ways to attack ice dams once they form. This does not mean using a hammer or pickaxe, as this can actually cause more harm than good. Because ice dams are formed from the heat in your home, the key is to get that heat away from your roof. Installing proper attic ventilation while preventing excess heat from entering the attic in the first place is key. Reducing the amount of heat reaching the roof will reduce the ice dams. 

The next step is improving the ventilation. Having proper ventilation will bring cold air into the attic and carry away any heat that rises through the insulation. We've installed ridge and soffit vents or attic fans to give homes better ventilation. A soffit and ridge vent system bring cold air from the bottom of the roof and carries it straight to the top and out the ridge vent. This makes the rafters and wood underneath the roof cold and takes away the heat that would have melted the snow and caused the ice dam to form. Many homes have two vents on the gable ends of the attic, but these are often small or do not provide enough ventilation. 

Don't let your home fall victim to ice dams this winter. Call us today to schedule a FREE consultation for your roof and let on of our experts guide you to prevent ice dams from wreaking havoc on your home.