When winter comes, the feeling of snow is always amazing despite seeing the cycle countless times. Everyone gets into thick clothing to keep warm. Thermostats go blazing to prevent homeowners in Edmonton AB from freezing. However, the warm internal home temperature is enough to make ice melt on your roof. In turn, ice dams water damage becomes possible due to unanticipated snowmelt.

Ice dams are every homeowner’s nightmare. It accelerates wood rotting by introducing moisture as water seeps through the underlayment. You know your thermostat causes them, but it’s not the biggest factor in the equation. Ice Dam Guys has a great list of ice dam causes every homeowner should take note.

Ice Dams Water Damage: Primary Causes

Ice Dam Cause #1: Hot Attic

This is the most common way ice dams form. It happens when your home is simply not energy-efficient.

  • You don’t have enough insulation in your attic.
  • You don’t have enough ventilation in your attic.
  • “Attic bypasses”: poorly insulated areas like outlets, light fixtures, and attic doors, that allow warm air to sneak up into your attic. Virtually any penetration through your walls or ceilings is a potential bypass that sends heat into your attic.  In some homes, non-insulated heat ducts may run through the attic, making it difficult to keep your attic cool.  On top of that, certain ventilation systems (commonly found in bathrooms and kitchens) are terminated in the attic vs. being exhausted through the roof, outside.

Most ice dams form as a result of a hot attic.  A hot attic means a hot roof, and a hot roof means ideal conditions for ice dams to form.  You can minimize your chances of getting ice dams simply by having a home energy audit done and following all of the recommendations that you’re given.  Just make sure your auditor is ice-dam-savvy. (Continued)

Prevention is always better than any cure because no matter how difficult it seems to do it routinely, it’s a smaller effort when you compare it to the huge leaps you’ll do just to find the cure. The same is true with ice dams water damage. To prevent it, homeowners must act immediately. One great plan of action is to remove the snow from your roof.

The University of Minnesota’s extension website points out the best ways to prevent ice dams from forming on residential roofs for short and long-term periods. Learn more about it below.

Ice Dams Water Damage Prevention Methods

Immediate action

  • Remove snow from the roof. This eliminates one of the ingredients necessary for the formation of an ice dam. A “roof rake” and push broom can be used to remove snow, but may damage the roofing materials.
  • In an emergency situation where water is flowing into the house structure, making channels through the ice dam allows the water behind the dam to drain off the roof. Hosing with tap water on a warm day will do this job. Work upward from the lower edge of the dam. The channel will become ineffective within days and is only a temporary solution to ice dam damage.

Long-term action

  • First, make the ceiling air tight so no warm, moist air can flow from the house into the attic space.
  • After sealing air leakage paths between the house and attic space, consider increasing the ceiling/roof insulation to cut down on heat loss by conduction.

Evaluate snow load (Continued)

Before they hire reputable and experienced Edmonton AB roofers to combat ice dam formation, most homeowners will resort to using ice dam cables. Swayed by pre-season commercials and sales content, it’s easy to purchase and install one on your own. In fact, they’re quite effective but only if professionals install them on your behalf.

However, they’re not the end-all, be-all solution you’re probably looking for in the case of ice dams water damage. They’re expensive in their own way — especially when it comes to utilities. Read this good pros-cons by Hedrick Construction.

Ice Dams Water Damage Prevention Using Heat Cables

Advantages of Installing Heat Cables

  • If heat cables are correctly and professionally installed, they can be very useful in minimizing water buildup behind ice dams.
  • Heat cables are a much cheaper solution than fixing the source of the problem by sealing air leaks in the attic, installing adequate insulation, and creating proper ventilation.
  • Heat cables can protect your gutters from filling with ice, breaking off, and harming your roof.

Disadvantages of Installing Heat Cables

  • They take electricity to operate. If left running all winter long, your electric bills are sure to increase.
  • They detract from your home’s curb appeal.
  • They are covering up an underlying problem, not dealing with the source of the problem.
  • They need to be monitored to prevent overheating and unnecessary power usage. (Continued)

If you’d like a long-term solution for ice dams water damage, it’s essential to build an attic with exceptional airflow that keeps your home interiors warm while keeping roof temperatures consistent. DDCL has in-depth experience in handling the necessary roof services to deliver the best solution that prevents ice dams water damage for your property. Learn more about it by contacting us today.