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Winter is upon us and that means being aware of possible ice dam situations. For those of us that have experienced the damage an ice dam can cause, it is not something we wish to be a part of again! If you haven’t had to deal with one, thank your lucky stars. The good news is there are things we can prevent ice dams from forming.

What is an Ice Dam?

An ice dam is exactly what it sounds like. It’s an ice formation that prevents normal snow melt from running off your roof as it is designed to. It causes water to backup behind the dam and seep underneath your shingles. Shingles are not designed to keep standing water from your roofing material below the shingles.

How does it cause damage?

Water that backs up under the shingles pose a threat to the wood underneath the layers of protecting material. This water can find its way into ceilings and walls resulting in massive amounts of water damage to interior spaces. Once the water finds a way in, it takes the path of least resistance.

How to prevent Ice Dams

Keeping the edges of your roof clear of snow will help prevent ice dams from forming. Usually the lower three to six feet or so will suffice. It is also imperative to keep your gutters clear of leaves and other debris. Here is a more comprehensive list from Liberty Mutual Insurance on ways to help prevent ice dam formation.

What do I do if I have water damage?

The first thing to do is have an ice dam and water damage expert inspect the damage immediately. Waiting will only lead to more problems. Once moisture has penetrated the normally dry areas of the home, it is unlikely they will dry completely on their own. If left unattended, you are likely to experience mold growth as well. That takes a bad situation and makes it worse!

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