Take action to permanently prevent ice dam formations, and serious damage to your home, with these insulation and ventilation fixes.
What Causes Ice Dams?
Ice dams form when melting ice and snow refreeze above the eaves of your roof and subsequent melting backs up under the shingles. This causes interior leaks and water damage to interior walls and ceilings.
Preventing Ice Dams
Proper ventilation, drainage and insulation are the only ways to prevent ice dams and can be achieved in the following ways:
Make sure your gutters are clear of leaves and debris
Check and seal places where warm air could leak from your house to the attic: vent pipes, exhaust fans, chimneys, attic hatches and light fixtures are all possibilities
Inspect, or have your roof and attic inspected for proper ventilation and insulation
Look for signs of inadequate ventilation: rust spots, rusty nails or a mildew smell are all signals that moisture has formed on the inside of your roof
If you have soffit vents in your eaves, make sure they are not blocked and insulation surrounding them is secured so that air can flow easily
Keep snow from accumulating on the lower three to six feet of your roof
Install snow and ice slides to prevent ice and snow from "bonding" to the lower roof
Install a rubberized ice and water shield beneath the roof shingles for the first three to six feet from the eaves up
Install heating cable along the eaves to melt ice
Removing Ice Dams
Consult a roofing professional
Do not use a snow blower, shovel or blowtorch to try to chip, break or melt ice dams