If you live Denver Colorado, it's likely you've heard the term "ice dam." Most people know they are something you don't want. However, it seems a lot of people's understanding of ice dams stops there.
So what are ice dams, exactly? Can they damage your home? Are they preventable? To help you understand ice dams and ice dam roof damage, we've put together this helpful article.
What Is an Ice Dam?
Ice dams are bulges of ice that form along the edges of a roof in winter. As snow settles on the roof, warm air from inside the home escapes through the attic and partially melts the snow. As the snow warms and melts, water drains towards the eaves and gutters.
The eaves of a roof generally extend past the exterior walls of the home, meaning they don't get any of that escaping warm air. As the melted snow hits the cold eaves, it freezes. Clogged gutters and downspouts exacerbate the problem, as melting water has no place to drain.
As winter progresses, the ice accumulating on the eaves builds up, creating large bulges along the edge of the roof. As the ice builds up, it eventually gets large and deep enough to trap water behind it -- hence the name "ice dam."
What Problems Do Ice Dams Cause?
With nowhere else to go, this water will begin to seep into the roof. There, it can leak into walls, through ceilings, and into attics.
Bad ice dams will almost certainly damage a roof, as water seeps between shingles. Water is the enemy of a home. It can cause rot, mold, damage to drywall, and unsightly discoloration — not to mention expensive repairs.
Unseen problems like mold or mildew in an attic can lead to lowered air quality or respiratory problems among the home's residents.
The weight of ice dams can damage gutters. There is also a potential for injury if a piece of ice falls at an inopportune time.
Preventing Ice Dam Roof Damage
The best way to avoid ice dam damage is to preemptively prepare your roof before winter.
To start, ensure your gutters and downspouts are clean and secure. This will give draining water someplace to go.
You should also do what you can to prevent heat loss through your roof. This can stop the snowmelt that causes the dams.
Make sure your roof, vents, and attic are adequately insulated.
If you do find yourself battling ice dams come winter, here's what you can do. If possible, avoid trying to remove the ice yourself. You run the risk of damaging your roof or gutters. Worse yet, it can be dangerous.
Instead, hire a professional company who uses a steam method to safely remove the ice dams before they cause further damage to your home.
Need Better Gutters?
Don't let bad gutters contribute to ice dam roof damage any longer. Whether they need repair or replacing, take care of the problems now before additional damage is done to your home.
If your home has old, failing, loose gutters, we hope you'll get in touch. We provide Colorado and south Wyoming gutter maintenance, installation and care at affordable, fair prices.
Contact us today and let us help!