Plan Now to Prevent Damaging Ice Dams this Winter

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As Summer transitions to Fall, it may seem premature to already be thinking about the effects of heavy snowfall this winter.  But key preventative maintenance tasks now while the weather is cooling can make a huge impact on reducing your risk of severe damage to your home during the Winter season.

Ice dams occur when snow accumulates on the roofs of homes that do not have adequate insulation. Heat escapes from the lower levels through a poorly insulated attic, causing the roof to warm. When the piled up snow on the roof starts to melt from the heat under the roof, the snow melts. The melted snow then runs down the roof until it reaches a colder area near the eaves and gutters, and then refreezes. The result is large mounds of ice that prevent water from running down the roof through the gutters. Instead, the melted snow pools behind the ice dams. When this happens, the water can seep through the roof shingles and into the attic. Once the water moves through the roof it can cause the roof to rot and insulation damage. In a lot cases the water soaks through the ceilings and into the walls, causing discoloration, wallpaper damage and excess moisture. These water-related problems can result in damper conditions where mold is likely to grow if not addressed quickly.

Even if you don’t have any visible water damage, you could still have ice dams. You can check without going up on the roof. Just take a look at the outside of your home. Are there a lot of icicles hanging from the eaves? Although the icicles may look very nice and sparkly, they are actually a sign that you may have an ice dam. Smaller icicles are usually not indicative of an ice dam. However, large icicles that have a diameter of over 4 inches can mean problems upstairs. The larger icicles are not attached to the roof, but are instead anchored by the ice dams. What happens is the pools of water behind the ice flow over the dams and freeze before they hit the ground, resulting in icicles.

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Tyler Golberg

Tyler is the founder of Home Maintenance Tracker and a writer for HomeSpot HQ, an easy to use tool for managing maintence and projects for every house.