Protect Your Home From Ice Dams This Winter

Fresh snow in wintertime can transform your neighborhood into a beautiful, sparkling wonderland, with icicles hanging from roofs. What you might not know, however, is that the icicles clinging to your home’s eves might be hiding a potentially damaging ice dam. Unfortunately, for our staff and residents of Rockville, Maryland, ice damage is not an uncommon occurrence.

Ice Dams Cause Damage

Icycles Hanging from Eves Can Hide an Ice Dam

Icycles Hanging from Eves Can Hide an Ice Dam

Ice dams cause millions of dollars of damage to homes and businesses every year. An ice dam is created when snow and ice high on your building’s ridgeline begins to melt from indoor heat loss. The melted 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 can eventually leak into the building through the attic or along exterior walls.

Any amount of water leaking into a building can cause extensive water damage. You could be faced with water-stained ceilings, dislodged roof shingles, sagging ice-filled gutters, peeling paint and damaged plaster.

Your attic insulation could also become wet, further exacerbating the problem. Water-soaked insulation compresses and, after it dries, isn’t as thick as before. Thinner insulation means higher heat loss and more ice dams, causing more wet insulation. It’s a vicious cycle. As a result, you’ll pay more to heat (and cool) your house. Wet attic insulation is also a magnet for mold and mildew.

Prevent Ice Dams

  • Make sure your attic has sufficient insulation to prevent heat loss from the house to the roof surface.
  • Install a continuous air barrier to retard the flow of heated air to the underside of the roof.
  • Have an effective roof ventilation system to keep the roof sheathing cold.
  • Seal all openings that would allow water vapor to rise into the attic, including ceiling-mounted light fixtures and ceiling fans.
  • Provide good attic ventilation to replace warm air in the attic with cold outside air.

Fast Fixes

If you do find yourself with an ice dam, here are some things you can do to minimize the damage.

  • Blow cold air to the attic with a box fan aimed at the underside of the roof. This will freeze any water leaking into your home in its tracks.
  • Rake snow off your roof with a long-handled aluminum roof rake. This specially designed rake with wheels won’t harm the roofing.
  • Don’t hack away at the ice dam with a hammer or shovel, since you can damage your shingles.

Call Tri State Restorations

If you should find yourself in the unlucky situation of having your home or business damaged by water as the result of an ice dam, call on Tri State Restorations. We provide 24/7 emergency water damage cleanup and restoration. Our Rockville location allows us to quickly arrive for water damage repair in Rockville, Potomac and throughout the rest of Montgomery County, Maryland.