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Fire & Water - Cleanup & Restoration

What Is an Ice Dam?

7/8/2019 (Permalink)

Ice dam in a Glen Ridge, NJ home

Winter’s arrival to Glen Ridge, NJ can mean a significant amount of labor added to your already busy day. Snow shoveling, blowing and scraping can zap your energy. Snow and ice on vehicles and the ground are obvious. What might not be so apparent is an ice dam, an accumulation of ice on the eaves of your home.

Risks of Snow Buildup

While a sloped roof is necessary for a location that gets extreme winter weather, snow can still build up quite a bit. In fact, snow and ice buildup can weigh as much as an SUV, so imagine the stress on your roof. Melting is a good thing, of course, but can sometimes cause more problems if it refreezes at the eaves and gutters; large icicles can be created, preventing the drainage of water off the roof. Several types of damage can occur as a result of an ice dam:

  • Injury to people from falling snow and icicles
  • Damage to roof from the weight of snow and backed-up water between shingles
  • Damage to attic due to moisture, causing wood rot
  • Damage to ceilings and walls due to indoor water leakage from backed-up water

But there are measures you can take before a winter storm and in its wake.

Prevention and Removal

Ice dams are preventable. Keeping the roof cold helps tremendously. Adding insulation to your roof will keep the warm air of the house from penetrating attic. Adding vents to the roof and soffits can also be helpful. These vents will pull cold air into the roof while expelling warmer air.

A snow rake is a very helpful tool for pulling snow off of your roof. However, there is a risk of being hit by falling ice while you’re doing so. The best option might be to hire a professional removal service. Ask your insurance agent if your homeowner’s insurance has ice dam coverage.

An ice dam can be worrisome. But if you make the necessary modifications before winter returns, ice buildup on your roof may not be an issue.

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