Are There Ice Dams on My Roof: A Guide

Prepare for an ice dam

Although ice dams are an issue that does not impact everyone in our service area, it is still important to explore them because they can cause fairly significant problems for those who do end up with them on their roofs. If you live in a part of Virginia or the Carolinas where winter weather regularly gets below freezing, your home is at risk for ice dams. As you read this guide, you will learn more about what ice dams are, how to tell if you have them, and what can be done to prevent them from forming in the first place.

What exactly are ice dams?

Ice dams occur when snow that has accumulated on the roof of your house begins to melt, ultimately forming an icy ridge at the edge of the roofline. This prevents any additional melting snow from draining into your gutter system, resulting in standing pools of water all over your roof. It bears noting that ice dams can only occur if the temperature on that portion of the roof is still below freezing; otherwise, they will also melt.

How do I tell if I have ice dams?

The easiest way to figure out if ice dams are present on your roof is to walk around your house and look for icicles. If the only icicles you see are attached to your gutters, the odds are good that you do not currently have any ice dams. If, however, you see a solid piece of ice over the top of any gutters, you probably do have ice dams and should contact a professional contractor to come take a look as soon as possible. The longer ice dams are allowed to last, the more damage they can do.

How are ice dams dealt with?

First, make sure you do not try to remove an ice dam on your own. Working on a roof, especially in the wintertime, can be extremely dangerous. Once you’ve chosen a contractor to oversee the situation, he or she will carefully remove the ice dams using one of several methods, such as breaking them up with a small chisel or melting them with heat.

You will, of course, also want to talk to your contractor about making sure ice dams don’t form on your roof again in the future. You may be able to reroute a chimney flue to provide more heat where the ice dams are forming or add additional vents inside your home to direct heat to the coldest areas of your roof.

The team at Hatch Homes has been working with Carolinian and Virginian families who have ice dam problems for years. If you are being plagued by this cold-weather problem, contact us today to schedule a consultation. We may even be able to work with you during the warmer months to make sure you don’t have to deal with ice dams again this winter, so don’t hesitate to call no matter what time of year it is.

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