In the Northeast, the term “ice dam” is met with grimacing faces and curse words. For those of you blissfully unaware of its meaning, an ice dam is the build-up of ice on roofs that causes damage to the building if water leaks through. This past winter wreaked havoc for many, but with warmer temperatures finally sticking around, people have begun mending the damage.
With home repairs in full swing, it’s a good time to think about making other improvements to your home to protect yourself from future ice dam issues. Consider these suggestions for preventing ice dams from damaging your home in the future:
Insulate the Attic Floor – One of the main causes of ice dams is heat escaping into your attic and melting the bottom layer of snow on your roof, which then re-freezes when it hits the roof’s edge. Adding extra insulation to your attic floor can help keep the heat inside your home where it belongs. Not only can this help prevent ice dams, but it’s also a great way to save on your home heating bill.
Ventilate the Attic – Installing extra eave, soffit, ridge, and gable vents will help the cold air flow throughout your attic. This will keep the snow from melting and re-freezing at the edge of your roof.
Install Water and Ice Shield – Water and Ice Shield is a protective membrane that’s typically added to a roof, underneath the shingles, about 3 feet from the roof’s edge. Having an extra few feet, or preferably the whole roof, covered in this will help keep any water that does get underneath the roof shingles from getting into your home.
Heating Coils – Heating coils are installed at the roof’s edge and heat up to keep the melting snow from re-freezing at the edge of the roof. There are certain types that can be added to gutters as well to help prevent the melting snow from freezing in your gutters, thereby eliminating the back-up of ice in the gutter and on the roof’s edge.
There are just a few of the many ways you can prevent ice dams from forming in the future. If you’ve previously suffered a loss due to ice dams, talk to your insurance agent to see if you are required you to make these, or any other, specific repairs. Do you have any tips or tricks you would like to share? If so, please leave them in the comments section below.