Ice dam on roof

What is an Ice Dam?

An ice dam is a ridge of ice that has formed along the edge of your roof. Non-uniform temperatures on the roof cause this. For example, the roof may be warmer at the peak but below 32 degrees Fahrenheit closer to the roof’s edge. Snow on the warmer section of the roof will melt, and as it slides down to the colder area of the roof, it refreezes to create this ridge of ice that holds back the rest of the snow and ice on the roof. When an ice dam forms, the frozen precipitation is prevented from sliding off the rood and will often back up, causing leaks and damage to roofing materials and mold in the attic of the home.

How Can Ice Dams Be Eliminated?

Properly insulate your attic. Over time the insulation in your attic will compress and not work as efficiently as it did when it was first laid or blown into your attic space. By adding more insulation to increase the R-value per square inch, you will have less heat loss and reduce the chances of an ice dam forming.

Reduce heat leakage from lighting fixtures, exhaust vents, and chimneys. Have recessed lights appropriately covered to avoid ice dams and the risk of fire. These can cause warm spots on your roof and lead to ice dams. An energy professional can use an infrared camera and perform a blower test to find heat leaks that can cause ice dams. Then you will have a good idea of what repairs must be made.

Keep snow from building up on your roof in the first place.

This takes persistence, and you must do it carefully. If they aren’t used with caution, snow rakes and brooms can damage shingles as much as the ice dam you are trying to prevent.

Avoid using mechanical ventilation systems, which can cause moisture problems in your attic. Moisture eventually equals mold. Instead, use a natural ventilation system that will dry out your attic and evenly distribute the excess warm air.

Never walk on your roof to remove ice dams. It is slippery and dangerous. If you have damage due to ice dams, call the roofing professionals at All Craftsmen Exteriors. They can look at your roof and provide you with a free estimate. Contact us today!

Based in Burnsville, we provide our professional services in these Minnesota locations:

  • Burnsville
  • Lakeville
  • Prior Lake
  • Savage