You may be wondering, “What is an ice dam?” if you’re not from Minnesota. While you do everything you can to take care of your family, you need to take care of your home as well. You should conduct regular inspections on your home throughout the year. Even minute repairs cause major damage overtime. An ice dam on the roof is one of the most common issues facing homeowners during the winter. Ice dams affect the attic. In addition, they can have hazardous effects on passersby and to the health of your home.
What is an Ice Dam?
There is a massive difference between the attic and living room temperatures. Generally the temperature within the attic is drier and a lot colder than the other rooms in the house. Therefore, the space in the home between the attic and the other rooms needs to provide insulation so as to seal the respective temperatures in those spaces. Furthermore, the warmth of the rest of the house does not seep into the coldness of the attic and vice versa. When this insulation is absent, the heat penetrates the attic and this heat melts the snow on the bottom section of the roof. This turns the snow into water, which runs along the gutter. As it begins to do so, it freezes again and forms icicles. This is the basic idea behind an ice dam.
It is very crucial to treat an ice dam early. Ice dams pose a threat to others and cause an immense amount of problems to the roof and its surrounding structures. It can also lead to the formation of mold. Perhaps, one of the greatest ironies is the fact that the likelihood of the occurrence of ice dams increases after a heavily snowy day. The major reason for this the simple fact that snow acts as an excellent insulating substance.
How Do Ice Dams Form?
While the basic idea for the formation of an ice dam remains the same, there is a lot more to it than what meets the eye. Essentially, as soon as the temperature within the attic rises upward of 32 degrees Fahrenheit, the heat gets transferred to the underside of the roof that is attached to this attic causing the snow on its surface to melt. You will notice that the intensity or the chances of an ice dam increase tenfold after a day that received heavy snowfall. This is because the insulation properties borne by snow merge with the heat on the underside of the roof and therefore, the roof gets warmed up from both sides, thus melting the snow faster.
Usually, the ventilation issues that arise that cause the attic to warm up are due to air leaks, lighting, ductwork and the likes. Your problem does not end there. If you thought the icicles formed will continue to stay the same size, you should mull over that again. As a fresh layer of snow gets formed, the same process is repeated again thus enlarging the existing icicles and creating new ones.
How can you reduce the threat of ice dams?
It is important that you get in touch with the removal services as soon as you notice an ice dam formation and avoid any kind of delay. This is due to the fact that delaying the matter will make it a lot worse. For starters, the icicles that are formed can come in contact with the shingles on the roof. This, in turn, will cause the water to seep into the exterior walls and the attic, not to mention your home as well.
In the beginning, the presence of an ice dam may hardly bother you. You will notice that as the time passes by its effects will be profound and devastating. Immediate action is the only solution. The consistent dripping of the water from the ice dam into the shingles and it absorption into the attic, home and the walls will eventually find its way into the insulation of your home. Over time, your insulation system will begin to perform poorly and eventually lose its ability to contribute towards the home completely.
Prolonged inability to attend to this problem will create a temperature and an environment of humidity which will be perfect for the formation and growth of mould in the attic. It is a common fact that over time the water from the ice dam will seep into walls. This moisture needs to find its way out and therefore, it will begin to show on the walls in the form of peeled paints and blisters that will not just make the appearance of your home less than appealing but can be extremely unhygienic living conditions.