If you live in the North, you know all about ice dams and the trouble they cause. But what are they really, and how do they form? How can you prevent them? Here at Squeegee Squad, we’re here to help you understand what every homeowner should know about ice dams. If you find yourself needing to have ice dam removal services, we understand this can be stressful and we are here to help with highly trained professional ice dam removal crews.
What is an Ice Dam?
Ice dams are those thick ridges of ice that form and build up along the eaves of your home. They can melt some and then refreeze, causing a substantial chunk of ice to lay precariously on the edges of your home. You will often also see oversized icicles hanging off of your home. Pretty as they are, icicles can be a sign of ice dams.
How Do Ice Dams Form?
Imagine it cold outside and your HVAC set to heat the home, making it nice and toasty inside. When the roof over your attic gets warm enough, it will start to melt the snow or ice on the roof. The water will move between that snow layer and your roof until it reaches the roof’s eaves. The eaves stay cold because they extend farther out from the home, beyond the side of the house. So that water freezes and grows into a mound of ice.
This ice is trapped in your gutter system now and will continue to build layers of snow and ice, unable to move out of the gutter.
The Problem With Ice Dams
Ice dams get big, and when they do, they will melt some, and that water can seep underneath your roof, drip down the insulation, and onto ceilings and walls. Over time this can ruin your sheetrock and paint and could jeopardize the structural integrity of your home. It can also pull off gutters and create a dangerous situation should a large chunk of the ice dam fall off onto property or persons.
How to Prevent Ice Dams
One of the best things that you can do regularly is to have consistent gutter cleaning done.
While clogged gutters do not make for ice dams, it can worsen the problem by not allowing any room for the snow and water to go. If there is a clean gutter, the water can easily flow off your roof and out to the ground level below. With proper gutter cleaning, especially with a power wash system, your gutters will not clog or impede the water from leaving the roof. Not having water stall on the roof is the #1 preventative method for keeping ice dams at bay.
Ways to Tell If You Need Gutter Ice Removal
You will need to get the ice out of your gutters if your gutters are bulging or sagging, your downspout is clogged, if there is a thick ice layer visible in your gutters, or if your gutter is so packed you can’t rake the snow off your overhang. Proper cleaning of your gutters can help prevent clogged downspouts, thick ice layers, and bulging gutters from packed debris and ice.
As you can see, there are ways to prevent the formation of ice dams, which in turn will prevent your home from having roof and interior damage in the long term. While you may be trying to save money by not having regular maintenance gutter cleaning, the money it could cost in the future is paramount. Talk with a gutter cleaning specialist like Squeegee Squad if you’re concerned about ice buildup and ice dams on your home and gutter system.