How Ice Dams Form
An ice dam occurs on the eaves of houses due to a buildup of moisture. Improperly vented and insulated roofs allow warm air to melt snow on the shingles. The moisture drips down the roof, builds up in and freezes in the gutter and at the roof’s edges. More moisture builds up behind the frozen moisture in layers. The resulting ice can be heavy enough to damage property or injure people when it breaks loose and falls. Roof and house repairs as a result of ice dam damage can be in the thousands of dollars. When ice dams injure people, hospital bills and lawsuits can result.
How to Prevent Ice Dams
Ice dams can be prevented by properly insulating the attic to prevent the home’s heat from entering the space. Ventilation of the attic is also necessary to allow moist air in the attic to escape. This can be accomplished by the installation of soffit vents, which allows outside air to enter. Various devices such as a ridge vent, solar attic fan, and electric solar fan or air turbine remove the air. This prevents ice from forming inside the attic and keeps moisture from building up inside.
Clean Gutters Prevent Ice Dams
Keeping the gutters clean is also integral to the prevention of ice dams. Moisture must be able to enter, flow down the gutter and exit down the drain. Keeping debris such as gravel from shingles, leaves, sticks or critters can be performed manually or by installing gutter guards. These guards also need regular maintenance to ensure their proper function all year long.