The freezing temperatures and snowfall that occur across New England in Winter (and into the early Spring) can result in a dangerous threat known as “ice dams.”
An ice dam occurs when the temperature of the interior of your home’s attic is warmer than temperature of your roof. Snow and ice on the heated surface of the roof melt from the bottom up, and the resulting water flows down toward your gutters.
When the water reaches the edge of the roof, it is once again exposed to frigid air and refreezes. This forms a solid ice dam that backs up the water flowing down behind it. Essentially, your roof is under water!
This backed up water can flow under the edge of your roof shingles and enter your home, leaking into your attic and down onto ceilings and along interior walls. The water seeping into your home may even cause structural damage. You might not even know there is a problem until stains start to appear on your ceiling and upper walls, sometimes week after the problem begins.
Preventive Measures to Avoid Ice Dams
The best way to deter the formation of ice dams is by having a properly vented roof. An effective roof vent helps to balance the temperature of your roof and attic and prevent the “freeze and thaw” cycle from occurring.
If your roof does not have a full-length ridge vent, or if the vent is old or not allowing air to flow freely, it is a good idea to replace it before ice dam problems begin. A complete ventilation system also includes under-eave soffits that bring outside air into your attic.
The key is to have the attic temperature as close as possible to the outside roof temperature.
Resolving Ice Dams That Have Occurred
If an ice dam does occur in your home, don’t try to break it up or remove it yourself. Tall ladders and icy weather are a recipe for disaster!
Instead call us at 781-455-0556 for a free, no-obligation inspection of your roof’s ventilation system. We can help determine if your roof may be subject to the formation of ice dams this winter.