For ice dams to occur, there must be snow on the roof. As the cycle of melting and freezing continues, ice dams can grow, being fed by the melting snow above it. When water backs up behind an ice dam, there’s the potential for the water to find its way into your home, usually through cracks and openings in the exterior roof covering. Once it’s penetrated through the roof, water can flow into the attic space and exterior walls, resulting in damaged painted surfaces, stained walls and ceilings, and compromised insulation systems. Not to mention introducing the potential for mold and mildew growth.
If you live in a cold climate, you can pretty much bank on snow accumulating on your roof at some point during the winter season. One way to prevent ice damming is to remove the snow from your roof after a storm. In most cases this is best left up to a professional.
If removing snow from the roof isn’t an option, think about creating a channel through the ice dam to allow the water behind the dam to drain off the roof. Hosing it down with water on a warm day should do the trick. Keep in mind that this is only a temporary solution. The channel will eventually refreeze.
For a long-term solution, we recommend calling an insulation contractor. They’ll be able to help you make your attic – and other areas of the building -- airtight so as little heat as possible escapes. Keep in mind, though, that insulation will only go so far. It will help keep the heat inside your building, but the outside of your building will forever be subjected to the heat of the sun beating down on the roof.
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