There’s An Ice Dam On Your Roof, And Trouble In Your Attic

If you notice a ridge of ice forming at the edge of your roof, or water leaking into your attic when snow is on the roof, chances are you have an ice dam problem on your roof. These form as a result of uneven temperatures on the roof, resulting from heat radiating up from the attic.

With more attic space underneath, the higher part of the roof is likely to be warmer, melting snow that then drains toward the colder, lower parts of the roof. The melting snow refreezes near the gutters, forming a dam that allows subsequent melted snow to back up as standing water. Eventually, that water is likely to find its way into your attic and living spaces.  Water leaking into your home can cause hard-to-address problems and damages such as dry rot, mold, mildew, structural damage, ceiling collapse and peeling paint.

If you have an ice dam on your roof, it could be a good signal that you have insufficient attic insulation, or air leaks in the ceiling below the attic or the attic door or hatch. Skylights and recessed lighting might also be leaking heat into your attic, adding to your ice dam problem. If you see an ice dam on your roof, it’s important to have your attic and roof inspected by a professional contractor in order to determine why it’s happening and how to solve it. In the immediate short term, however, you’ll want to:

  • Remove the snow from your roof, being careful not to damage roofing tiles or fall off the roof.
  • Create channels in the ice dam for water to flow through. When doing this, remember to work from the bottom. On a more mild day tap water may also work for this.

Depending on the root of your problem, long-term solutions could include:

  • Making your ceilings under the attic airtight
  • Increasing attic insulation

Geisel Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing has been helping Northeast Ohio residents with their indoor comfort needs for more than 77 years and would love to answer any questions you may have. If you are seeing the formation of an ice dam on your roof, you should not wait to have it inspected. Putting off dealing with this problem could cause more damage than may have already occurred in your attic, costing you more money in the long run.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in Western Cleveland, Ohio about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).  For more information about ice dams and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.

For those Do it Yourselfers who would rather take control of your own indoor comfort, you can shop our online store for replacement parts, products and accessories!   

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