Do you know what an ice dam is? It could be causing weather damage to your home without your knowledge. If you live in an area that allows for snow accumulation on your roof, it can go through a process of freezing, melting and then refreezing as the weather changes. Under optimal circumstances, this snow would melt into water that would flow normally off of the roof, through gutters and downspouts to the ground.

Unfortunately, under some conditions, the temperature of your attic can contribute to this process, leading to melting snow, even when the temperature outside is still well below freezing. This water flows down your roof, but at the edge of the roof, just before your gutters, this water refreezes into a dam and prevents melting snow from reaching the gutters. If your attic is warm enough to melt the snow immediately above it, but the weather outside isn’t warm enough to melt all of the snow on the roof altogether, this process can continue all winter.

How Ice Dams Effect Your Home

The result is an ice dam on your roof overhang, and it can cause severe weather damage to your home. An ice dam grows as melting snow above it continues to flow down. The longer the cycle continues, the larger the ice dam. A large ice dam can back up to the portion of the roof that is located over your attic, where warmer temperatures inside will prevent the water from refreezing. The melted water will simply begin to pool, and this is where the damage begins.

Because water is meant to flow downward on your roof, any water that backs up and pools can seep backward, underneath roof shingles, entering your home. Once it does, it can find its way down the underside of the roof, finally dropping somewhere you’ll discover eventually due to a slowly spreading stain, drips on walls or lines of water, a sagging ceiling or, if the leak is bad enough, a collapsed ceiling. Water damage due to untreated ice dams can necessitate repairs to ceilings or flooring, or cause you to replace them entirely. Ice dams can even lead to damage to the structural integrity of a home, including walls and electrical systems.

Unless you remedy the situation, this water damage can lead to mold inside your walls, in your ceiling or underneath your flooring. Mold requires two things to thrive: chronic moisture and warmth. Once the moisture from the ice dam is inside your home, it’s only a matter of time before the heat present in your home leads to mold.

Prevent Further Damage

Prevent further damage to your home and property by removing existing ice dams and preventing new ones. It’s important that you attempt to remove the snow from your roof; however, it can be extremely dangerous to climb onto a snowy roof with tools. To prevent serious personal injury, consider hiring a professional to do the work. Get your ice dams removed before further weather damage occurs. Stay safe and warm throughout the winter with the knowledge that your home is protected from leaks associated with ice dams. If ice dams have already damaged your home, click here to contact a trusted local expert to evaluate your damage and repair it.