What Exactly is an Ice Dam?


Icicles may look beautiful and give your home that wintry, picturesque feel, but behind the scenes is a different story.  Icicles are ice…and frankly, ice is heavy and can lead to ice dams.  They can tear off gutters, loosen shingles, and cause water to back up into your home, potentially causing interior damage and mold.

What is an ice dam?  An ice dam is a ridge of ice that forms at the edge the eaves which blocks melting snow from draining off the roof and into your gutters. When this happens, water backs up behind the dam and works its way underneath the shingles and into your home. The water can then cause peeling paint, warped floors, stained and sagging ceilings, damaged walls, and wet insulation. Wetness leads to mold, and I’m sure I don’t need to explain how dangerous mold is.

What can you do about it?  Well, have proper ventilation and the recommended amount of insulation for your geographic area, are excellent preventative measures you can take in order to keep your family and your home safe from the winter elements.  As an added bonus, a lot of utility companies offer rebates and other incentives for reducing energy consumption by increasing your insulation.  Visit DSireUSA.org for policies and incentives in your state.

Also having the correct size of gutters for your roof slope will ensure water  from melting ice will flow freely. Gutters vary by width and should be installed based upon how steep (slope) your roof is. The steeper your roof, the wider your gutters should be in order to handle the flow of water off of your shingles. If your gutters cannot handle the flow of water, they will get backed up, causing icicles to form and hang off the gutters.  If you see icicles forming repeatedly in certain areas, consider melting the ice with a product like Gutterglove’s Ice Breaker.

No amount of preventative measures can ever prepare a homeowner completely from the wrath of Mother Nature.  However, dangerous conditions like ice-dams can be avoided by having these 3 variables evaluated by a trusted home-improvement contractor.  Give us a call today or click the button below for your free evaluation.