A large Volume of South-facing roof draining into a small gutter is completely over whelmed with ice.
Our last winter storm caused some major ice-damming problems for many people. A heavy layer of High-moisture content snow, followed by a prolonged spell of below freezing temperatures has caused major ice dams to form on many buildings.
Water freezes in the lower portion of a downspout, then backs up and leaks out of joints between the elbows and spout, which them re-freeze, causing sizable icicles.
Dangerous icicles forming over an exit door.
House in Lafayette with significant ice damming on the north elevation rooflines, note the three inches of ice visible above the top of the gutters.
The house right next door, built by the same builder, using the same construction techniques, facing the same direction (North) has no noticeable ice-damming whatsoever.
This unheated Porte Cochere has no ice damming at all, since there is no heat from beneath to cause an ice dam.
Ice begins to melt and drip onto the sidewalks of a busy shopping center. CSG installed a custom gutter and Raychem 120V de-icing cable over this business, and you can really see the difference.
Usually, ice damming situations are worst on the North side of a home or building, but, due to the solar gain that we experienced on Sunday, which caused upper roof surfaces to melt and trickle down to the eaves, many south-facing aspects had considerable ice-damming.
The ice that forms on the eaves of houses and buildings can cause significant damage to the eaves of the structure, and can be very dangerous to occupants and passerby. If you are having an “Ice Emergency” contact CSG, and we can help to eliminate ice dams with our Artic Steamer ice dam removal equipment.
Quick Tip – To see if your attic is too warm, disposing you to ice damming problems, place a remote-read thermometer up in the attic space of your house. When the outside, or ambient temperatures are very cold, your attic temperature should be no more than five degrees or so warmer than the outside air. If it is, you are at risk for ice damming.
Ice damming is a fairly complex phenomena, and many different variables can play a part in the formation of large ice dams. The most common cause of ice dam formation is too much heat escaping from the building into the attic, causing it to over heat and melt the snow on the roof from the underside. Once the snow has liquefied, it trickles down to the eaves, where it re-freezes and turns to ice. When this process repeats itself over the course of several days, the ice formations can become quite large. However, attic heat is not the only variable that may contribute to ice damming, as the orientation of the rooflines, and solar exposure can have an effect. Vaulted or cathedral ceilings (as opposed to a traditional truss-framed roof with an attic) are more likely to form ice dams.
Changing certain aspects of a home building can have an effect on whether ice dams form or not. For instance, many homeowners report that when they replaced their roof, and changed the roofing material from cedar shake shingles to laminated asphalt shingles, they began to experience ice damming problems, which had never occurred previously.
Many people see the ice dams that have formed on their home or business, and think something is wrong with the gutter. In fact, the gutters themselves have very little to do with causing the ice dams, unless they are filled with debris or the downspouts are clogged and can’t drain properly. Ice damming issues can often be dealt with by addressing defects in insulation and ventilation of attic spaces, and Colorado Seamless can install de-icing cable or heat tape to help keep a roof, gutter and downspout system thawed out.