How to Prevent Ice Dams on Your Roof

Ice dams on Daniel's roof

Daniel needs help preventing ice dams from forming on his roof. But first, he needs to understand how they develop.

Ice dams form when heat leaks up through the living space into a poorly ventilated attic.

Now, how does that happen?

Well, basically, ice dam formation begins with a roof blanketed in snow. The layer of snow that sits directly on the roof starts to melt, and water runs down the roof underneath the snow.

When the water hits the overhanging eave of the house, it begins to freeze. Some water often drains into the gutter, where it freezes as well.

As the snow continues to melt and water freezes at the eave, ice eventually builds up along the roof, forming a thick ridge.

Then, as water runs down the roof, the ice dam blocks it, and forces it up under the shingles. Now, we know what you’re thinking — while this may seem to defy the laws of physics, water will actually flow up the roof, working its way under the shingles.

And that’s where the trouble really begins, since roofs are designed to shed water running down the shingles, not up.

Now, you could have plenty of insulation— and if you do, great! — but if you improperly installed it and if it blocks airflow, that creates problems.

So, what can you do about these pesky ice dams?

Joe recommends using a roof rake to remove snow from the edge of the roof. This will prevent water from leaking down the roof and eventually freezing.

Also, Daniel needs to make sure his home’s insulation isn’t blocking any vents up through the attic.

And that’s all it takes to prevent ice dams!

Listen to the embedded audio clip for this full segment!

Read the blog from the Feb. 1 show and listen to the full broadcast here.

Further Reading:

12 Tips to Ice Out Ice This Winter


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