Ice dams are a typical problem in states where heavy snow is commonplace. But even in Oklahoma, some winters bring favorable conditions for ice dams to form. Find out what causes ice dams, and what steps you can take to prevent them from damaging your home.
What are ice dams?
Ice dams are formed because of melting snow on your roof. The warmth of your home’s attic melts snow, which runs down to your gutters. That water freezes and forms a mound of ice at the cold edge of the roof.
That’s the ice dam. It blocks other water from running down (and off) your roof. Water backs up, seeps under your shingles, and gets into your home.
Water dripping down onto your ceiling can cause stained ceiling and walls and even rotten wood. That can create a lot of damage.
How do you prevent ice dams?
The way to prevent ice dams from damaging your home is to keep your roof cold. Keeping heat in your attic from melting the snow stops the melt that forms ice dams. There are a few steps you can take keep your roof cold.
1. Add insulation in your attic
If your attic doesn’t have enough insulation, heat from your home will more easily escape into the attic and the roof will be warm. Check your local building codes to find out how much insulation is required in your attic.
2. Close paths to the attic
Much of the heat lost in your home is lost to the attic. Heat gets to the attic through many paths, like pipe chases, access hatches, and gaps or cracks in the drywall. If you’re comfortable doing this, you can get into your attic and close these paths using foam and caulk to keep out the heat, or hire someone else to take care of it.
3. Vent your attic
Attic vents keep cold air moving through your attic, moving warmth out. Ridge and soffit vents will help prevent ice dams from forming.
4. Chimney flashing
Remember that holes for pipes and cracks in drywall allow heat into the attic? If your home has a chimney, the gaps alongside it also allow heat into the attic. You can correct this by adding flashing around your chimney in the attic.
If you find that this winter is hard on your roof, give us a call. We’d be happy to help you resolve any roofing issues the winter weather leaves behind.