Blog Ice Dams 101: What They Are and How to Stop Them November 14, 2017March 15, 2018Jeremy KelseyGutters If you live anywhere that has freezing temperatures and you have a gutter system on your home, you’re at risk for ice damming. Although they are much more common in areas where there is significant snowfall, ice dams can even occur when a large rain event combines with freezing temperatures if you have clogged gutters. What Are Ice Dams? Do you wonder why icicles form on your home but not your neighbor’s home? Those icicles are the result of ice dams. Ice dams form when you have clogged gutters, insufficient attic insulation, poor attic ventilation or some combination of the three. When the water that’s running off your roof – either in the form of rain or melting snow – doesn’t have anywhere to go because the gutters are clogged, this allows ice dams to form. As the freeze-thaw cycle continues and the snow on your roof melts and runs toward the gutters, the water eventually begins to spill over the edge of your gutter, slowly creating icicles. Ice Dam Prevention Tips They may be pretty, but icicles can be dangerous and damaging. Icicles that fall from upper levels can break windows below, destroy landscaping or even hurt someone who happens to be standing below. Your gutters weren’t meant to hold that much weight – they may bend, break or even become detached from your home. There are things you can and should do to prevent ice dams from forming. Clean gutters are key to keeping your gutters flowing. If water can drain away, you won’t find ice dams on your home. If you haven’t yet cleaned your gutters this fall, be sure to do it before winter sets in. If you’re tired of cleaning your gutters every year, consider installing a gutter guard system like Gutter Helmet®. Your attic can also contribute to the formation of ice dams. Have a professional roofer check to be sure you have sufficient attic insulation. Additional insulation will not only help prevent ice dams from forming, but will also contribute to lower heating and cooling costs. Another thing to look at is your attic ventilation. Proper ventilation helps regulate the temperature in the attic. Your attic has two types of ventilation: vented soffits around the eves and either a ridge vent or another type of vent in the roof. Make sure all vents are functioning properly and haven’t been mistakenly covered over or clogged. Give Ice Dams the One-Two Punch Routine gutter maintenance, good ventilation and proper insulation work together to keep ice dams at bay. If you’re tired of cleaning your gutters and want to do more to prevent ice dams from forming, call (800) 824-3772 to learn more about Gutter Helmet®. If you live in an area prone to ice and snow, ask about Helmet Heat®, your permanent solution to reducing ice dams.