With the onslaught of unremitting snow battering down upon us, I thought now would be a nice time to investigate the phenomena knows as ice dams. If you’ve noticed your roof leaking over the past few weeks or days following these recent storms, it does not necessarily mean your roof is malfunctioning. You might actually be a victim of an ice dam. An ice dam is simply a layer of ice that forms along the edge of a roof, inhibiting the collected snow from melting properly. The resulting melt then has the potential to creep into the house, leaking down into the walls, creating damage to the interior of your home. The old saying “an ounce of prevention outweighs a pound of cure” was never more accurate than when discussing ice dams. I realize if you’re reading this prevention may not be an option, so we’ll explore cures as well.
Preventing ice dams takes a few different forms. Your roofing ventilation plays an important role in ice dam prevention. A properly ventilated roof will allow air to flow smoothly so that excess heat will not build up and cause the melting process to speed up, which creates a breeding ground for ice dams. You will also want to remove snow from your roof, especially if you notice icicles forming. Refer to last week’s blog regarding roof snow removal for options and suggestions.
If you find yourself past the point of prevention, however, you have a few avenues to pursue, best of which involves calling a professional. One option is to place a box fan in your attic and pointing it at the leak. The cold air the fan generates will refreeze the leak, in essence bringing it to a stop. Again, the melting and freezing cycle of the snow drives the ice dam process, so keeping it frozen will alleviate the leaking.
Hose down your roof!
If you’d prefer another route, one which may seem somewhat unconventional, grab a pair of panty hose. Yes, you read that correctly. If you fill a pair of panty hose with rock salt, lay it across the ice dam—leaving the foot of the hose hanging off the gutter, the salt will melt the ice without damaging the roof, allowing the excess snow and ice to flow into the gutter. Granted, you may receive some inquisitive looks from neighbors and passersby wondering why you’ve littered your roof with ladies’ hosiery, but at least you’ve nailed down that nasty ice dam issue! Who ever said science can’t be fun?
As always, we’re here awaiting any questions and concerns pertaining to your roofing needs. Reach out to 401-739-1001 and we’ll be happy to share how our Protec roofing system will help you in the fight against this inclement weather through which we’ve all suffered as of late.