An ice dam is formed when melted snow refreezes at the edge of the roof. If left untreated, ice dams can cause a lot of damage to the exterior and interior of your house. So, we thought we would discuss in this article where the common locations for ice dams to form are, so that you, the homeowner, knows what to look out for.
Common Ice Dam Locations
The eaves edge of your roof is the most common location for an ice dam to form. It has been estimated that a good 80 percent of ice dams are found in this location. Ice dams often occur both below and above skylights.
And ice dams that form above the skylights are hard to see from the ground. This makes those kinds of ice dams the hardest to locate. Ice dams form over any openings through the roof, such as pipes and vents.
The valley areas of dormers will frequently get ice dams, but it is important that you never use chisels or hammers near valleys because you could cause more damage than good.
If you have a roof with a low pitch, an ice dam can form. Even a 1-to-2-inch ice dam can cause major leaking and interior damage to your house. And your interior rooms with vaulted ceilings are frequently associated with the formation of ice dams.
If you have an interior room with recessed lighting leading to a vaulted ceiling, you are more likely to deal with ice dams. Ice dams occasionally form around furnace flues and chimneys.
The ice dams that form in these locations tend to be small, but they can still be responsible for leaking. Finally, ice dams seldom form over unheated spaces like porches or garages, so do not spend time worrying about these unheated locations.
Dealing with Existing Ice Dams
You will want to remove the ice dam by breaking it into small pieces. Do not use an ax, or any other sharp tool, as you can cut through the shingles. Tap lightly with a blunt mallet. This can be dangerous work, so do not think twice about hiring a professional that has experience.
Clear out your gutters and downspouts. Then, melt troughs through the ice dam with calcium chloride ice melter. Do not use rock salt because it can damage metals, paint, and plants beneath the eaves.
How to Prevent Ice Dams from Forming
Ice dams can cause some expensive damage to your home. So, here are some tips for preventing ice dams. First, whenever there is a snowfall, take some time to shovel the snow from your roof. Use a snow shovel or broom but be extremely careful.
In fact, it may be smarter to hire a professional that has experience in this area. Make sure your gutters have been maintained before the snow hits. From there, seal all points where warm air leaks out from the interior of the home into the spaces below the roof shingles.
Insulate your living space so well that it prevents conduction and convection of heat through the ceiling. Vent the space between the insulation and the roof sheathing. That way no heat that does leak through is carried away, but it is contained.