Ice dams – Winter’s silent home wrecker
submitted by Scott Miller, Service Manager, C&C Family Roofing and Siding, www.candcfamilyroofing.com
Winter is approaching.
Temperatures are dropping, leaves are falling and soon snow will arrive. Although the snow-covered landscape is picturesque it may be extremely harmful to your home.
Winter is ice dam season.
Ice dams form when melted snow refreezes at roof edges.
Three things are required for an ice dam to form: snow, heat to melt the snow, and cold to refreeze the melted snow into solid ice.
Ice dams develop as snow on the upper part of the roof melts.
Water runs down the roof slope under the blanket of snow and refreezes into a band of ice at the roof’s edge creating a “dam.”
Additional snowmelt pools against the dam and eventually leaks into the building through the roof or roof trim.
Where does this process originate?
Most of your roof surface is located directly above the living space.
Heat lost from the house warms this section of the roof, melting the snow in this area.
During periods of sub-freezing temperatures, the lower areas of the roof deck near the gutters or eaves remain at sub-freezing ambient temperatures.
Roof overhangs are not warmed by indoor heat-loss.
This causes leaks in your attic.
Roof leaks wet attic insulation.
In the short term, wet insulation does not work well.
Over the long term, water-soaked insulation is compressed so that even after it dries, the insulation in the ceiling is not as thick.
Thinner insulation means lower R-values.
It is a vicious cycle.
It is easy to understand that allowing water to leak into your house is a bad idea.
Ice dams cause millions of dollars of damage every year.
Much of the damage is apparent.
Water-stained ceilings, dislodged roof shingles, sagging ice-filled gutters, peeling paint, and damaged plaster are all easily recognized and usually repaired when weather or budgets permit.
Do not wait for the snow to cause you grief.
Have your home checked out by a reputable roofing contractor.