Long icicles hanging from your gutters?
Icicles on your house are usually the first warning sign of possible ice dams on your roof. Ice dams can do major damage to your home; they can tear off gutters, loosen shingles as well as cause water to back up and rain into your house. Seeping water can cause peeling paint, stained/sagging ceilings, even warped floors. Along with this it can also mean soggy insulation in the attic; soggy insulation means loss in R-value and can be a magnet for mildew and mold.
What is an ice dam actually?
It is a wall of ice that forms at the gutters or soffits of your home. When an ice dam forms water then backs up behind it and creates a pool of water on your roof.
What causes ice dams?
Heavy snowfall and improper ventilation in the attic are usually the causes of ice dams. Heat collects in your attic and warms your roof (except at the eaves). When the snow on your roof starts to melt (from the heat of your attic) it runs down your roof underneath all the snow until it reaches a cold section, your soffit/gutters, once it reaches your soffit/gutters it then refreezes.
How can I remove an existing ice dam?
The proper removal of an ice dam can be very dangerous if you do not know how. Some immediate action you can take would be to remove all snow from your roof. When removing snow from the roof pull/push the snow down, not across the roof as this may damage or break off shingles. Once your snow is removed from the roof, you can begin to carefully remove the ice dams. If you cannot remove all of your ice dams, you must at least create a space for the trapped water to flow through the ice dams. This will stop any further water pooling in the future (as long as you keep the channel open)
Performing ice dam removal can cause severe personal injury and damage to your roof if not done properly. Never walk on a snow covered roof and make sure if you are using a ladder to follow proper safety procedures.
How can I prevent ice dams in the future?
A properly ventilated and insulated attic is the best way to prevent ice dams from occurring.