Ice Dams: A Menace to Your Roof, so Here’s How to Prevent Them

Icicles glittering above your windows can make a picturesque view – especially if you’re lucky enough to have a view of Lake Erie from your Cleveland area home – but they can also hint at the formation of something much less desirable: ice dams forming on the edges of your roof.

Heat rises through your home during the heating season. Ice dams form during below-freezing weather when your roof insulation isn’t effective enough to keep heat from seeping out the top of your house and melting any snow that’s accuIce Dams: A Menace to Your Roof, so Here's How to Prevent Themmulated on the roof. And because snow is a powerful insulator itself, heavy snow increases the chance of heat being trapped close to the roof’s surface. The snowmelt rolls down your roof, but when it hits the eaves, the rooftop is much cooler since there isn’t so much warmth beneath it in the attic. The melted snow quickly freezes, and as more water flows down, more ice builds up, creating a dam, behind which more melted snow collects and pools.

The pooled water is more likely to find its way through any gaps, cracks or damage in the roof itself. If water seeps into your attic and home, it can promote the growth of mold, fungus and bacteria – or it can freeze and expand within your fixtures if the temperature drops low enough, or you turn down the thermostat for a weekend away. Either way, it could be costly and even hazardous to your health.

Sufficient attic insulation, both on the floor and roof, not only lowers your heating bills by ensuring that heat remains in your home to warm you through the winter, but it prevents ice dams by not allowing indoor heat to make it through your roof and into contact with accumulated snow. Attic insulation pays big dividends in the summer, as well, by keeping the attic from becoming superheated, and allowing that heat to seep down into your living spaces.

To learn more about ice dams and how to prevent them, please contact us at Geisel Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing! We’re proud to help our Cleveland area neighbors this winter and for many winters to come.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in Cleveland, Ohio about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).  For more information about preventing 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!   

Image courtesy of Shutterstock