Ice dams can be an unfortunate yet inevitable part of the cold winter season. While they can wreak havoc on any gutter system, we have great news for homeowners worried about their houses this winter. With the right steps, ice dams are actually much easier to prevent than you might imagine, giving you peace of mind that your gutters won’t suffer from the consequences of ice dams that could potentially damage your home.
Keep reading to find out all about ice dams and how you can protect your gutter system and residence from them this winter with six quick tips — you don’t want to miss out!
What is an Ice Dam?
An ice dam is a buildup of ice and snow along the eaves of a roof. Of course, snow buildup is a natural occurrence, but when combined with melting snow and without taking the proper precautions, it could cause significant damage to your roof.
How Do Ice Dams Cause Water Damage?
When the snow starts to fall, most homeowners rush to turn on their heaters. This is a perfectly normal response because, without heat, you wouldn’t be able to survive the freezing temperatures.
Unfortunately, the heat you’re producing may rise up through the attic and heat the roof, which causes the snow to melt. It may seem like a benefit, but it can also cause severe damage. If you have an ice dam, the water will build up — this is not good for your roof’s integrity.
Instead of melting and falling away from your roof, an ice dam will create a barrier that holds the melted snow in place. If left unattended long enough, the standing water can damage your roof and cause leaks. That’s the last thing you want to happen!
So what are the best ways to prevent ice dams and their damaging effects? Let’s dive in.
6 Ways to Safely Prevent Ice Dams from Damaging Your Roof and Leaking into Your Home
To prevent ice dams from causing damage to your roof, you have to avoid them altogether and remove them if they form. Fortunately, that’s a lot simpler than you might think. Here are six ways to prevent ice dams from damaging the roof and leaking into the house:
1. Remove Snow Manually
It isn’t the most economical solution, but it works. If you’d like to prevent ice dams from causing damage to your roof, you have to manually remove the snow before they can form.
To be effective, you’ll have to be consistent, practice safety first and stay on top of removing the snow buildup before the sun and temperature fluctuations convert the snow into an ice dam. Once formed, the ice dam itself can also be removed, although this is much more physically involved than pushing off snow. There are special rakes designed just for ice dam removal if that’s the route you want to take, but preventing formation is always the superior option, if possible.
2. Using Chemicals to Melt the Ice
Calcium chloride is an effective chemical compound for melting ice. Found in products like Green Gobbler Snow and Ice Melt, if you’re looking for a chemical solution, why not go with something tried and true? Fill a pair of pantyhose with calcium chloride and place them on the ice dam. Before long, the ice dam will melt away.
There are also other chemical ice-melting products available on the market, such as magnesium chloride and rock salt. You may want to plan a trip to your local hardware store and talk to an associate about their available products and which work best for your needs. It’s nice to have these products anyway to scatter on the ground if you also have ice building on driveways and walkways.
3. De-Icing Cables
Radiant heating and heated cables are great solutions for de-icing and preventing snow buildup that commonly causes ice dams. The cables are installed in a zig-zag pattern along the roof’s eave and radiate just enough heat to melt the snow away before it becomes a problem. This is a superb option for anyone looking for a hands-off ice dam prevention solution.
4. Insulation Fixes
If you increase the insulation in your attic, you can prevent heat transference from your attic to your roof that will cause uneven snow melting and, if not addressed, ice dams.
5. Strengthening Exterior Seals
Heat can come from many places, including chimneys, HVAC ducts, electrical cable installations and vent pipes. Improving your insulation might not stop water buildup on your roof.
To prevent heat from escaping to the roof, you should take some time to strengthen your exterior seals around any potential heat sources. This process may also provide the added benefits of reducing the heat transference in your home and lowering your energy bill.
6. Install Vented Soffit
This is one of the most straightforward solutions on our list. If your roof has vented soffit panels installed along its eave, they’ll provide extra ventilation and increased airflow, which is key to preventing ice dams from leaking into the home.
This type of ice dam prevention solution has many benefits, including lowering your energy consumption, creating extra circulation in your attic, prolonging the lifespan of your roof and HVAC unit and — as we now know — preventing ice dams.
Prevent Ice Dams with Vented Aluminum Soffit from Rollex
Aluminum vented soffit is durable against the elements and perfect for any exterior design aesthetic. Plus, the added ventilation will aid in the prevention of ice dams, which could save you thousands of dollars in unnecessary roof repairs.
If you’re interested in finding vented soffit products for your home, you’ve come to the right place. At Rollex, we craft high-quality, low-maintenance products perfect for any home improvement or new development project.
Contact us today to learn how we can make your home safer this winter!