Winter can be notoriously hard on your roof. But when it comes to what to watch out for, identifying ice dams should be at the top of your list. These frozen dams can cause all kinds of problems for your roof, some of which you may not catch until Spring if you don’t check now!
1. Check for Interior Water Damage
Ice dams are formed when the heat from inside your home escapes and warms the roof. Snow and ice melting run down your roof to colder areas where it refreezes. This can cause severe damage to your roof and even the interior of your home.
Get into your attic or call a professional roofer to check for you. Look for leaks, water spots, or potential water damage, and pay attention to temperature.
2. Look for ice on exterior walls
Do you have ice forming on the outside walls of your home? Check especially under the siding, behind the soffit, or in any other strange places. If so, an ice dam may be your culprit. As melting snow and ice get backed up on the roof’s eve, it can seep into and behind the surfaces of your home and re-freeze.
During warmer weather (or after a big thaw) check for visible water stains. Or come have an expert check out your home if you’re concerned.
3. Inspect your gutters to make sure they’re draining properly
If your gutters aren’t draining properly, you might have ice dams to blame. The water gets backed up on your home’s roof and will overflow. If left unchecked, that melted snow and ice can work it’s way into the structure or even freeze and damage the roofing material.
If you notice your gutters not draining, call a gutter expert to inspect your home.
4. Look for icicles forming on the roof or gutter’s edge
Icicles can indicate an ice dam! Icicles along your gutter edge can also mean that water isn’t draining properly. If that water is causing back up on the roof, it can cause water damage.
The good news is that checking for icicles is easy and doesn’t require an expert! If you see them on your home – especially larger than normal icicles, give your local Treasure Valley roofer a call because it can absolutely mean your gutters aren’t doing their job.
5. Snow melting high on the roof but not low
When melting snow and ice refreeze on your roof’s eves, that’s a good indicator you could have ice dams. If you can see snow and ice on your roof but the top is clear, that might be an indication you have problems with ice.
To check for hot spots, go outside after a recent snowfall. If you can already see areas where your roof is free of snow, your roof has a high risk of ice dams. Take note of where the bare patches occur since these locations are likely to be hot spots.ns
You Have an Ice Dam
How Should You Address Ice Dams on your roof?
If you notice any combo of the five signs we’ve listed above, your roof likely has an ice dam. The good news is - You may be able to decrease any leaks in your home by placing a fan beneath the leak. As the cold air comes in contact with the water, the water may freeze and plug up the hole long enough for you to schedule a professional inspection.
Because winter roofs can be slippery, do not attempt to melt an ice dam yourself. Instead, have a professional assess the issue. Your roofing contractor may apply a melting agent like calcium chloride or get rid of the dam using heated steam.
If you notice an ice dam or damage from seasonal weather conditions, contact your local expert roofing company as soon as possible.
Subscribe to Idaho Roofing Contractors's Blog