During the winter months a lot of attention is paid to ensuring your pipes don’t freeze resulting in water damage to your home. However, freezing pipes isn’t the only way the winter weather can bring water damage into your home. As the first day of winter approaches, we want to talk about Ice Damming, and how to prevent it from happening at your home and business.

 What is an Ice Dam?

An ice dam is a ridge of ice that forms at the edge of a roof and prevents melting snow (water) from draining off the roof. Ice dams can damage gutters, loosen shingles and cause water back up. The water that backs up behind the dam can leak into a home and cause damage to walls, ceilings, insulation, and other areas.

Additionally, ice dams are what help those beautiful but potentially dangerous icicles form on your eaves.

What causes Ice Dams?

We could get very technical here, however the quick and simple answer is that ice dams form from a mix of warm temperatures and cold temperatures hitting the snow on your roof at the same time. For example, the heat from your house increases the temperature of your roof, causing the snow to melt, but as the water flows toward your gutters, it hits the colder outside temperature and POOF! an ice dam forms.

As the water continues to flow, but can’t get past the newly formed ice dam, the water finds cracks in your roof and seeps into the house.

How do you prevent Ice Dams?

There are several different tactics you can take to prevent ice damming at your home or commercial property, and the best tactic usually depends on the age and size of your home or property. Here are some examples:

  • Roof Rakes
    • Most Coloradans have seen these up in Mountain towns where they get large accumulations of snow, so you know it’s effective. Standing on the ground, use a long-handled aluminum roof rake to clear the snow. This will instantly change the exterior temperature of your roof.
  • Add Insulation
    • Adding more insulation in your attic will keep the heat from your house where it needs to be – in the house. Keeping the heat from the roof will minimize the contrast in inside/outside temps.
  • Heated Cables
    • Attaching heated cables to your roofs edge in a zigzag pattern, heated cables helps prevent ice dams that lift shingles and cause leaks. This solution allows you to equalize your roof’s temperature by heating it from the outside.

Because icy conditions are usually associated with the North Eastern part of the country, many people out West, particularly the Southwest, don’t think about the negative effects of ice damming. To learn more about winterizing your home or business, contact a CB Insurance team member today.