Dealing with Ice Dams

Ice Dam Removal

Ice Dams in your gutters are quite commonplace in Minneapolis.  While the icicles hanging from your gutters are a beautiful reminder of the winter season, they can cause significant damage.  Left untreated, ice dams can cause serious damage to your roof, paint, gutters, insulation, shingles, and drywall, even the structural integrity of your roof!  They can also cause mold, which can trigger allergies and respiratory issues in your family.

An ice dam forms as snow on your roof is melted by the sun, and then freezes again at the end of the roof.  Snow will begin melting when the outside of your roof, or the temperature outdoors has risen above 32 degrees Fahrenheit.   Oddly enough, snow will act as a great insulator, maintaining the temperature that your roof is absorbing from your attic.  This will cause snow to melt significantly more quickly, leading to larger ice damns.

As this continues, the ice will begin working it’s way back up the roof.  This can get under shingles, melt, and then leak into the exterior walls of your home.  Damage may not be easily detectible.  Insulation may become wet, causing it to not work to keep your home warm.  If humidity and the correct temperature exist, mold can begin growing in your attic.  Paint can blister months after the ice damn has completely melted, and in some cases, begin to bow your walls or ceilings.

How Things Go Wrong

  1. A large winter storm hits hard, and snow and ice are on your roof.
  2. Heat from your home and the sun cause the snow to melt.
  3. Melted snow runs down the slop of your roof.
  4. The melted snow will refreeze as ice near your gutters.
  5. As temperatures rise and fall, the dams and icicles will grow.
  6. Icicles become a safety concern.

One of the most effective steps that a homeowner can take to prevent ice damns is to reduce or eliminate heat sources in the attic, and ventilate the attic rooms.  This will prevent heat being insulated by snow, and allow for natural reduction of ice dams, often preventing them altogether.

There are other options to removing and preventing ice dams, as inventive roofers and other ice dam removal specialists have begun to develop products and chemicals designed to protect your home, many of which have proven extremely successful.  These products can include:

  • Heated gutters, designed to melt ice before it starts.
  • Heated cabling systems.
  • Ventilation processes.
  • Chemical sprays.

Each of the preceding solutions come with pros and cons, which should be thoroughly evaluated before deciding what works best for you and your family.

By taking precaution in the summer or fall months, you could prevent thousands of dollars in damages that can happen in the winter.  We all know the temperature fluctuation that we deal with in Minneapolis over the months of November-April.  A bad ice dam can cause your family thousands of dollars of damages.  Take the appropriate steps to shore up your home today.