Ice Dams

Ice Dams
What are Ice Dams?
Ice Dams are ice that has built up along the edge of the roof and hinders melting snow or water to drain off the roof. Ice dams causes the pooling of water on the roof, which subsequently begins to leak into the house, potentially affecting ceilings, walls, flooring and content.

What causes Ice Dams?
Ice dams are caused by the average temperature at the highest portion of the roof being above 32° F, while the average temperature at the lowest portion of the roof being below 32°F. In addition, the average temperatures outside are below 32° F. The snow on the highest portion of the roof begins to melt, and as it drains off the roof, freezes once hitting the lowest portion of the roof. Immediately creating an ice dam. As snow continues to melt, the dam continues to grow until the entire low portion of the roof is covered in ice, and water begins to trap and remain in a liquid state on the warmer portion of the roof.

Why are there different temperatures on the roof?
There could be several reasons for different temperatures on one’s roof, to include heat rising from the house, exhaust systems, chimneys, air leakage, and more. Primarily, difference in temperatures on the roof are due to non uniform heat flowing from the house leading to ice dams.

ServiceMaster Elite Ice Dame Cleanup Team

Can Ice Dams be prevented?
Several different steps could be taken to prevent ice dams. Following are a few of the steps that could be taken:
– Remove snow from the roof
– Create channels through the ice dams to allow water to flow off the roof rather than through the roof
– Create an air tight ceiling, hindering warm air to flow from the house into the attic space
– Increase ceiling or roof insulation in the attic to cut down on heat loss.

Please note, performing work on the roof at any point in time, but especially during slippery conditions is conducive to severe injury or severe damage to a roof. We highly recommend contacting professionals to perform any work that requires walking on the roof.

What are the dangers to my home from ice dams?
Ice dams can cause moisture to run throughout your house. If this moisture is left unattended it, it could lead to some form of microbial growth or mildew. Microbial growth and mildew can lead to respiratory issues. It is important to seek immediate help should the water enter the house to help prevent growth or mildew from appearing. Should signs microbial growth or mildew begin to take shape, we recommend seeking out a professional mold remediation company for a full remediation plan.

How do I remove an Ice Dam?
An ice dam can be removed in a couple of different ways. First, one can try raking the ice dam off. Utilizing a rake with wheels can instantly change the temperature of the exterior roof, thus removing the ice while not damaging the shingles. It would be highly recommended that you stay firmly planted on the ground while utilizing this rake. It is important to remember, you should never use salt on the roof as it can break down the roofing shingles creating further damage to the roof.

What should I do if Ice Dams form and water enters the house?
If ice dams do form, and one is unsuccessful at removing ice dams. Then we recommend that a professional disaster restoration company is contacted to begin the process of complete dry out. Disaster restoration companies can work with insurance companies to ensure the scope of work is within the rights of the insurance claim. Calling in these companies also helps to prevent secondary damage in the form of microbial growth or mildew.

ServiceMaster Elite operates across New England and Florida. Is slated to be one of the largest individually-owned disaster restoration companies in the United States. ServiceMaster Elite is partnered with leading insurance companies, commercial and residential property management firms and homeowners to restore peace of mind after water or fire damage. Find out more about Water Damage Restoration, or give us a call today, 1-800-338-5311.


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