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Homeowners who live in areas with harsh winter climates are well aware of how hard winter ice and snow can be on roofs and gutters. On many homes, the signs are all there: the roof covered in snow, icicles hanging from the sides of the house and ice dams forming in the gutters and at the edge of the roof. Many people don’t realize that icicles and ice dams are two of the most obvious signs of danger ahead for a roof. 

What Are Ice Dams?

The phenomenon known as an ice dam is a buildup of ice which can occur in the gutters or along the eaves of a roof. Ice dams form when a warm roof (the result of an under-insulated attic) causes ice and snow to melt. The resulting snowmelt travels down to the edges of the roof, where it’s naturally colder, and refreezes. When this occurs, any additional moisture will back up behind the ice dam, an occurrence that often results in water seeping under the shingles. This water can then leak into the house through the ceilings and walls, and will eventually cause rot and lead to the formation of mold.

How to Prevent Ice Dams From Forming

It’s important to know how to prevent ice dams to keep moisture from entering your house. Here are four ways to do this. 

  • Don’t let snow linger on your roof. It’s fairly easy to remove snow from your roof. This can be done using a snow rake, which doesn’t require the use of a ladder. Since snow is the primary element in the formation of ice dams, ensuring its removal will prevent them from forming. 
  • Add more insulation. Heat travels to the roof in one of two ways: either by convection through the top surface of insulation or conduction through the slanted part of the ceiling. By adding more insulation in the attic, the temperatures in the different areas of the attic will remain more stable, which will reduce heat loss through convection and conduction.
  • Find and seal air leaks. The other main factor that causes snow to melt and ice dams to form is the heat that escapes through gaps and slits inside the house. If the warmth isn’t able to reach your roof, the snow won’t melt and the process that leads to the formation of ice dams will be arrested. The common fixes used to stop air leaks are weatherstripping and caulking. Seal any gaps you find in the ceiling to stop warm, moist air from rising to the attic and causing the snow on the roof to melt.
  • Consider installing gutter covers. Unless you have heated gutters, ice can easily build up inside of them. Icicles can form as well which, if allowed to remain, can cause your gutters to pull away from the exterior or even be torn completely off. One way to prevent this is by installing Gutter Helmet® gutter covers, widely regarded as the best gutter covers around. They can be installed on existing gutters and will help keep ice dams from forming in them.

Protect Your Home From Ice Dams

To learn more about this high-quality product and how our gutter covers can help protect your home from the threat of ice dams, give Gutter Helmet a call today at (800) 824-3772 or contact us online.

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