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What To Know Now That Ice Dam Season Has Arrived 

January 22, 2020

How much damage can an ice dam really do? Without the proper remediation techniques and/or prevention actions, ice dams can cause thousands of dollars of damage to your home. Knowing how to avoid these dams, and what to do if you notice one building on your house, is the best method to prevent ice dam damage to your home. 

What is an Ice Dam? 

An ice dam is more than a picturesque icicle dripping from your roof. The water, snow, and ice that has piled up at the edge of your shingles can be extremely hazardous to you and your home. Ice dams may look like a simple dripping icicle, but in reality there is more than meets the eye. 

An ice dam is formed when the heat from a home rises into the attic and then heats the roof. The melting snow and ice then runs down the roof slope to a cooler area (usually the lower portions of the roof) and begins to refreeze. After a few cycles of this occurring, a dam is formed where the water starts to build up along the edge of the shingles and then the ice closest to the shingles can melt and find its way inside your home. 

What Damage Can Occur? 

There are several ways that ice dams can cause damage to a home. One of the most common ways is water damage in your attic. Insulation and drywall or construction materials can then get wet over and over again. Without proper drying, mold can grow. Once the mold grows, the only remedy is to remove the areas of mold and replace the materials. 

Another way that ice dams can negatively impact a home is through wood rot. This can occur  when there is a severe leak that is not caught and remediated. Rotting wood could cause structural issues within your home which is even more expensive than replacing drywall or insulation. 

In addition to rotting wood and moldy construction materials, ice dams can cause damage to gutters. If an ice dam grows large it can shift the gutters and cause it to separate from the structure. This means that the main purpose of a gutter (keeping water away from the structure) is failing. Eventually the water that is not being led away from the home can cause problems with the foundation and siding. 

Preventing Ice Dams 

There are several things a homeowner can do to avoid this headache every winter. Here are a few steps you can take.

  • Have an energy audit completed on your home to be sure your attic is properly insulated. Many states and companies offer free energy audits.
  • Have a professional examine if your home has enough venting to keep your roof cool but your home warm in the winter. 
  • Invest in a roof rake when there has been a large amount of snow. Be sure to follow safety guidelines when using this.  

If ice dams have caused damage to your home, call the professionals like Pro-Care at (781) 933-7400 – Toll Free (800) 660-1973, or find our contact page on our website. We will also dry your home or business to prevent further water damage and mold growth.


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