Preventing Ice Dams: Our Top 5 Tips
Allowing ice dams to form on your home’s roof can create all kinds of havoc this winter season. If you want to survive the season without leaks or roof damage, you need to take action now, before the snow starts to fall and the ice starts to form.
Preventing ice dams is not as hard as you might think. With a little bit of vigilance and a bit of your time, you can keep your home ice-free all winter long, giving you and your family one less thing to worry about.
#1. Clear It Out
The easiest and surest way to prevent ice dams from forming is to clear out the spaces they would otherwise occupy. When the snow falls and collects on your roof, ice dams will surely follow.
That is why it pays to hire a professional to climb the roof and remove the accumulated ice and snow. Removing ice and snow buildup from your roof now means no ice dams later, saving you later roof repair costs.
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#2. Know Your Exterior
It may be cold outside, but that does not mean you cannot walk around the exterior of your home and look for signs of damage. Ice dams do not typically appear out of nowhere; they develop over time – particularly when the weather fluctuates between warmer and cooler temperatures.
Knowing the early warning signs of ice damming can mitigate the damage and help you get a handle on the situation. The best way to prevent ice damming is actually check and care for your gutters regularly. Check the position of your downspouts and make sure they are channeling water away from your home. Check your gutters for blockages and damage, remove dead leaves and other debris that could block them and call for professional help if needed. All these things can help you enjoy a winter free of ice dams and other dangers.
#3. Check Your Ducts
Not all dangers are outside your home. The interior of your home, most notably the ductwork, can also increase the odds of a harmful ice dam and cause damage to your roof.
Make sure all the ducts and exhausts in your home are free and clear, and that they vent to the outside air. Venting ducts into the attic will warm the air and make ice damming more likely and it will thaw areas of your roof allowing them to re-freeze and create ice dams. Venting air into the attic can cause serious problems for your roof so be sure your ducts and vents are in good working order.
#4. Keep Heat Loss to a Minimum
The more heat your home loses through the attic and poor insulation, the greater the likelihood that ice dams will eventually form. Reducing that harmful heat loss will keep your home warm and cozy, lowering your winter heating costs and making ice dams far less likely.
Check the insulation in your attic and make sure it is still adequate for your needs, over time insulation can be less effective, and if your home was built before a certain time there may be newer methods that are more energy efficient. Adding insulation to your attic will help make the space more airtight, equalizing the temperature and reducing the danger of ice dams.
#5. Have Your Chimney Inspected
If your home has a fireplace, have the chimney professionally inspected and cleaned. Broken bricks and other defects in the chimney could give water a way in and make ice dams more likely – as well as other damage to your home. Chimneys that are not properly kept can also be the source of drafts and water damage so save yourself a headache and have your chimney professionally inspected.
Ice dams can be very dangerous to your home, so it’s important you consider year round maintenance and make sure professional roofing companies like A.B. Edward help take care of your roof.
If you live in the Chicagoland area and would like a roofing inspection, call us at (847) 827-1605 or visit our contact us page. If you need an appointment for ice damming then we are here to help. Throughout the winter we offer a full range of snow removal and ice damming services for your roof to keep your home safe and dry year round.