Mother Nature has been wreaking havoc on our homes in Wichita all winter long, with ice dams being at the top of that list. With below freezing temperatures and unexpected snowfall, this winter season has not been very fun for most homeowners. This winter, the water damage experts at Stover’s have helped dozens of homeowners’ cleanup and repair water damage inside their homes from frozen pipes and ice dams. In previous blog posts, we have gone over how to prevent and deal with frozen pipes in the Wichita area. Now we would like to discuss ice dams, why they are a problem and how to prevent them.
What Causes Ice Dams?
Ice dams are formed when the snow on your roof starts to melt and runs down towards the colder eaves. Poor attic/roof ventilation can cause your roof to become warmers than the eaves. When this happens the newly melted water refreezes when it reaches the eaves and then compounds.
Why is this a Problem?
It can be surprising to discover that your roof and gutter system have problems with supporting frozen water. When the ice starts to accumulate along the eaves and within the gutters, the weight of that ice starts to build…and build, causing some major stress on your roof and gutters. This additional weight can cause severe damage, and in some cases, can cause your gutter system to complete collapse potentially damaging shingles or siding on the way down. This can become a major safety hazard is someone is in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Not to mention that when the water from an ice dam melts, it can start to seep into and under your roofing, causing significant water damage to your attic or crawlspace. More often than not, this type of water damage goes unnoticed until the water starts seeping through light fixtures, causes the ceiling to bubble and sag, or causing discoloration to the walls and ceiling.
Preventing Ice Dams
The great news is, with some proper preparation and a little elbow grease by you or a reputable contractor, ice dams can be prevented. The best ways to keep ice dams from forming are by having proper attic insulation and roof ventilation.
Additional ways to prevent ice dams from forming:
Maintain your gutters. Clearing your gutters from fallen debris and leaves will help any melting snow finds the right place to drain. Clogged gutters can slow down the flow of the melting water, allowing it to freeze in inconvenient places.
Reduce the heat in the attic or crawlspace. Did you know that uninsulated recessed lights in the room below your attic or crawlspace can allow a significant amount of heat into attic or crawlspace creating ventilation problems? Make sure your lights are properly insulated.
Invest in a roof rake to keep your roof free of heavy snow.