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Ice Dams – What Are They and How to Avoid Them

Serious winter weather is no stranger to residents in Ontario. However, protecting your home from the threat of winter weather is important. You likely know quite a bit about winterizing your home, but do you know how to prevent ice dams from forming? These can pose serious threats to your roof structure, but you can prevent them with a few helpful tips and information.

What Are Ice Dams?

Ice dams forms when melted snow refreezes along the eaves of a roof. Small dams are not usually cause for concern, so long as they melt quickly. However, it takes very little for them to grow into major threats.

What Threats Come from Ice Dams?

What sorts of threats do ice dams pose to your home? Actually, there are quite a few here, none of which are fun to deal with. One problem is the fact that you will be spending more money on heating your home – ice dams are a sign of heat energy loss through the roof. Another problem here is that they can cause rotted roof beams and damaged shingles.

How Does This Work?

The way ice dams form is simple. The roof of the home is warm enough to melt ice and snow. The water runs down the roof until it meets the eave, where it is cold. Here, the water freezes once more, forming icicles and creating a dam of ice. Water continues to run down the roof, though. It meets the ice dam and backs up, but does not refreeze because it is not on the eave of the roof. This water stands on your roof, and begins to penetrate your shingles (it backs up under them). This puts your roof members in danger of rotting, as well as giving mould and mildew a chance to thrive.

How to Prevent Ice Dams

How do you prevent ice dams? The simplest way is to ensure that your attic stays cold. This means you will have to seal off areas where warm air from the home’s interior can penetrate the attic. Spray foam and fibreglass insulation can both be used to fix these gaps and prevent heat loss. A quick fix is to install heat tap along the edge of the roof eaves, which can melt parts of the ice and allow melt water to flow off the roof before it refreezes or backs up into your roof.

Do you get ice dams? Find a roofing professional on eieihome.

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