What You Need to Know About Ice Dams
When our Ohio winter comes to town this year, will your roof and gutters be ready? If you've noticed runs of icicles along your eaves the past few winters, odds are something is amiss and you may see obvious ice damming this winter. Why is this a bad thing? We're here to explain.
What Is an Ice Dam?
Ice damming occurs when snow melts on your roof above the outside walls. Usually, the snow melts because the attic is warmer than the roof except where it extends beyond the wall. As the water runs over the colder part of the roof near the edge, it freezes and forms a ridge of ice. This ridge blocks the rest of the running water from reaching the gutters. As it backs up, it can creep under shingles if their sealed edges have loosened. That pooled water freezes when the temperatures fall enough, and if it finds entry under the shingles, it will further push them up. Eventually, water can work its way under the shingles and under the base moving then into your attic. There, it can soak through your insulation and into the ceiling drywall. On framed houses, it can also run down the inside of the exterior wall.
Damage to Your Gutters
Even if your attic remains cold enough all winter to prevent ice damming, the snow may find other ways to wreak havoc. After a storm, when the sun re-emerges, it slowly melts some of the snow which successfully works its way to the gutters. But the days are short and the water can freeze in the gutters and downspouts as soon as the sun sets. Eventually, the water overflows and forms icicles. It can also back up under the drip edge flashing. This is the metal that extends into the gutters to prevent runoff from flowing over the backs of the troughs and down the fascia or between the plywood decking and the shingles. The weight of the ice can stress the hanger system attaching the gutters to the fascia. If the problem lasts too long, it may cause the gutters to come crashing down.
How Do You Solve These Problems?
To help prevent ice damming, you can:
- Enhance your attic insulation to prevent your internal heat from entering the attic and making it warm enough to melt snow from the underside of the roof decking.
- Add ventilation to whisk the warmer air out.
- Remove the snow before it has a chance to melt on the roof.
- Install heat cables along the eaves in a large zig-zag pattern.
To help prevent icicles and blocked gutters, you can:
- Keep them clear of leaves and debris.
- Install heat cables in the gutters and down the spouts to keep them warm and the water flowing.
Wayne Overhead Door Sales and Home Improvements offers all the quality services you need to address your roof's ice damming and gutter blockage issues. We're here to help overcome the threats to your home from our brutal winters. If the snow has already worked its evil on your roof or gutters, we can also replace them and install the features that will protect your investment for years to come. Contact us today for a free consultation and quote.