The Thing About Ice Dams
You’ve seen icicles forming on your roof and in the gutters of your home. Apart from causing you worry about your heating bill; icicles may also indicate that you have an ice dam.
How do ice dams form?
An ice dam can form when snow on your roof is heated by warm attic air. This causes the snow to melt and as water runs down the roof, it reaches parts of the roof that are colder and instantly refreezes. This results in a large mound of ice or an ice dam.
What problems do ice dams cause?
Ice dams can damage your gutters, roof and siding. Just one cubic foot of ice on your roof weighs 57 pounds! When an ice dam forms, it blocks melting snow from draining off the roof into the gutter system.
How do you remove ice dams?
Removing an ice dam does involve significant personal risk because you have to climb up to the roof. You can remove an ice dam by filling a nylon stocking with calcium chloride ice melt (avoid rock salt; it will damage your roof). Simply place the stocking across the ice dam to create a channel through the dam, allowing water to flow through. You can also hire a professional to remove the ice dam with steamers.
Do not attempt to clear the ice dam with an axe or ice pick as that can easily damage your roof.
How do you reduce ice dams from forming?
There are several things you can do such as:
- Keeping your roof free of snow using a roof rake. Just be careful the snow does not fall on you! As an alternative, hire a snow removal company to do it for you.
- Keep your attic cool by making sure it is well-insulated to prevent heat from escaping and rising to the roof. You will also want to ensure sufficient ventilation in the attic.
- Use a Helmet Heat® system. Helmet Heat contains a self-regulating heat cable and can be installed inside Gutter Helmet® gutter covers. Helmet Heat prevents ice from building up at the edge of the roofline. It also prevents ice from forming inside gutters and downspouts.
Helmet Heat is energy-efficient and heats up only when needed. It is self-regulating and does not require monitoring. Helmet Heat can be installed seamlessly and does not result in unsightly heat tape wires on the roof surface.
Call Gutter Helmet of Madison at 608-849-7899 for questions about how to install gutter guards and the Helmet Heat system on your home. We know how to prevent snow and ice from building up in your gutters and causing ice dams.