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Ice Dams and Alberta Residents
A number of things can cause ice dams, including the loss of heat from your home, snow cover on your roof, and the outside temperatures. In order for ice dams to form, there typically must be snow cover on the roof of your home. At the same time, the higher areas of your roof’s outside surface are normally above freezing, while the lower surfaces are below freezing. This typically happens when the temperature outside is lower than freezing or 32 degrees Fahrenheit. When the temperatures at the higher levels of your roof reach above freezing, they begin to melt. As the water from this melting snow runs down the roof and reaches the lower portions of your roof (that are below freezing) it re-freezes. This causes an ice dam. The dam will grow as more water runs down the roof from the melting snow but will typically limit itself to those areas of the roof that remain below the freezing point. The water that has become trapped above the ice dam will remain unfrozen, finding cracks and openings in the roof and potentially causing water damage in the ceilings, insulation, and walls of your home.
It is possible to prevent and/or stop ice dams before they cause damage to the roof and interior of your home. In order to prevent ice dams completely, you must control the heat loss from your home. This can be done by checking your ceilings to ensure that they are well insulated and that no heat is escaping through the higher areas of your roof.
If you currently have ice dams, they can be removed before any damage is done. You must first remove the snow from the roof. This will eliminate the water that turns into ice when it melts and refreezes. Brooms or roof rakes can be used to remove the snow from roofs but keep in mind that you could damage your roof if you incorrectly use a roof rake. In emergency situations where the melted snow is flowing into your home, you can create channels to allow the ice dams to let the water drain off the roof. Taking a water hose and applying warm water on a day in which temperatures are above freezing will create the channels and allow the melted water to flow off your roof, preventing a further ice build up and keeping your interior safe from water damage. Keep in mind however that these channels will only work for a few days so you should remove the ice dams from your home as soon as possible.
If you need help contact a contractor for assistance.
Preventing Ice Dams to stop leaks
Canadian Contractors get calls every winter concerning a leaking roof. What the callers forget to mention is that they have icicles hanging from their roof indicating a loss of heat from the attic. Snow can actually serve as insulation and the inside temperature of the house can rise. That heated air must go somewhere and it goes right to the attic.
As the attic warms up, the snow on the roof heats up too. The next thing you know, the snow is melting, and like the warm air in your house, the water must find an outlet. That outlet is the overhang of the roof or the outside edges. When the water comes in contact with the outside air and the cold roofing edge, it refreezes as it tries to drip out.
Icicles Are Not Pretty on Roofs
The next thing you know your house looks like it belongs in the North Pole with its pretty icicles hanging down. Unfortunately those pretty icicles are only part of the picture. Some water freezes before it ever has a chance to drip and form an icicle. The freezing water builds up and forms an ice dam. Like any dam, the water coming from behind it continues to back up. Since it's cold, the backed up water freezes until it reaches the attic.
Once the ice reaches the attic, water can get into the attic. There are cases where water backing into the attic has caused damage to lighting fixtures and electrical wiring and ceiling drywall. Sometimes the water runs down inside the walls or around bay windows. The backed up ice dam can literally twist gutters, or if it gets big enough, damage siding or roofing.
When you discuss this with the roofing contractors in Cape Cod, MA you may get a surprising response. The contractor will tell you to keep the attic cold! Homeowners are usually told to insulate to keep the house warm during the winter, but in this case you need to insulate your attic to keep the cold air in and the warm air from the house interior out.
Preventing Ice Build-Up
Other things that the general contractors in Cape Cod, MA can do to prevent ice dams from forming include:
• Making sure attic insulation is not covering up vents intended to keep air circulating
• Adding metal flashing at the roof eaves so water is not as likely to stick and freeze
• Insuring that all areas where warm house air could potentially enter the attic are sealed
If you notice an ice dam building or icicles forming, it's important to take care of the problem right away. Icicles may look enchanting, but they spell trouble for homeowners. Sometimes people don't discover ice dam problems until Spring thaw when water floods their house. Roofing contractors in Canada are experts in helping homeowners avoid ice dams. Call for help! They are expecting you and are ready with solutions!