We Will Remove Your Ice Dam
Ice dams are a common issue at this time of the year in Minnesota. A water dam is useful, but an ice dam can pose a danger to you and your home. If you have noticed icicles hanging from the edge of your roof, then you may be dealing with a dam.
Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Ice Dams & Ice Dam Removal:
• What is an Ice Dam?
• How Does an Ice Dam Cause Damage?
• How Can I Prevent Ice Dam Formation?
• Do I Need Ice Dam Removal?
• How Are Ice Dams Removed?
What is an Ice Dam?
Winter can be an exciting time of year. If you are from Minnesota, you might be aware of ice dams. They are a major threat to buildings and are often misunderstood. So what is an ice dam?
Ice dams can be formed because of the heat of the day and the rays of the sun. Sometimes the most perfectly insulated home still gets ice dams because of this (Mother Nature). Usually in these cases the home or building has valleys where accumulation occurs very slowly. By the time the dam is detected it is a massive problem. This is why removing the snow early is very important.
In general the ice forms on the homes in this order: south side → west side → east side → north side. This is directly in relation to the sun shining on the roof at its peak heating times and length of time it shines on the roof.
Ice dams often form on buildings with inclined roofs. During winter, heat produced by the building can cause snow to melt and trickle down the roof. As the liquid travels down, the freezing temperature causes it to freeze and create a buildup of ice close to and on top of the gutters. This formation will keep any new snow from draining. This is why you see large accumulation and icicles on your roof during winter.
Things that lead to ice dam formation include the amount of heat loss from the roof of your house, the temperature outside and the amount of snow cover on your roof. Ice dam formation occurs when there is a significant amount of snow on your rooftop and the outside temperature of the roof is above 32º Fahrenheit, or freezing temperature, while the temperature under the roof is below freezing temperature. These temperatures must be sustained for a significant period.
As the temperature rises above the roof, the snow begins to melt into liquid. As that liquid reaches the part of the roof that is freezing, the frozen water creates an ice dam, which grows with the liquid from the melting snow. This causes the water to “back up” behind the ice dam and remain on the warmer part of the roof. It never gets a chance to turn solid. The liquid will find a crack or an opening in the roof and flow into your attic or ceiling. This causes damage to your attic, ceiling insulation and the ceiling finish.
There are a number of reasons the temperatures on your roof are not unified, or the same. The roof in your house is slanted and this causes heat to rise through conduction (heat traveling through a solid). Radiation transfers heat outward, through the insulation and above the roof sheathing.
How Does an Ice Dam Cause Damage?
Ice dams can cause significant and lasting damage. The weight of an ice dam will threaten the structure of a home and ruin the gutters. In addition, when the temperature gets warmer, flowing water will find its way into cracks and expand once it freezes again. Even if the liquid does not refreeze, the water alone will damage the walls and insulation.
Ice dams are also a safety hazard. Chunks in the buildup can fall off the roof and cause injury. It is important that they are removed in a cautious manner. That is why it is wise to hire a professional instead of doing it alone.
If you see buildup near your gutters, do not wait any longer. Fast removal is crucial to savings your structure from longstanding damage. Dean Bjorkstrand’s removal services will keep both your property and your family safe.
How Can I Prevent Ice Dam Formation?
If you’ve had the horrendous problem of dealing with an ice dam during the Minnesota winter, you are not alone. Have you been wondered how to clean the inside of a snow-packed roof so you could properly insulate your household? If so, follow along as we guide you through these precise and extremely effective preventative methods.
A very common mistake is choosing to heat your roof during such cold and harsh times. In fact, it is actually best to keep your roof cold in order to prevent water from seeping inside. If you heat your roof, water will form. It is important to always keep the temperature of your roof deck below 30º F.
To maintain the perfect temperature for keeping the snow frozen, it is important to seal openings and gaps that allow warm air to pass through to the attic. In fact, doing this – as well as keeping the attic ventilated – is a key preventative measure. If the passages are not well ventilated with cold air, your roof will be damaged, or worse, completely ruined. Save yourself the trouble.
Another major misconception – even by many misinformed remodeling contractors – is the idea that heat can somehow prevent ice dams from happening. Very intense heat can melt the snow rather quickly, rapidly forming a harmful dam.
It is always best to create space between the roof rafter to provide insulation. This prevents condensation buildup. Another effective measure is installing polystyrene air channels into your roof to help exhaust the heat. You may also consider laying an unfaced insulation blanket over the heating ducts to reduce potentially dangerous heat buildup. This method will allow cold air to pass through.
Do I Need Ice Dam Removal?
Many Minneapolis residents ask themselves this very same question. You may be familiar with how an ice dam looks. Even though they can look harmless, they can pose a real threat to your home and family. Here is how they form on your roof:
- 1. Hot air rises to the highest level of the house, increasing the temperature of the structure and melting the snow directly above it, which is usually found in the roof area.
- 2. When the melted snow touches an area of the roof with lower temperature, it then starts to reform, creating icicles and the dam itself in the process.
- 3. Hot air continuously rises and melts snow on your rooftop. The water is then dammed and eventually leaks into your home’s interior.
- 4. While it seems that simple water leaks on your roof are harmless, the more they seep into your home’s ceiling, walls, and insulation, the higher the chances of them posing a threat to you and your family.
First and foremost, continuous leaks may produce molds on your attic or whichever the highest part of your home is, which, in turn, can bring illnesses such as allergies and asthma. It can also peel paint as well as damage your property and injure your family if they are hit by broken icicles. It would be all right if the icicles are very small. However, for extreme cases involving icicle formation, wounds and death are possible.
How Are Ice Dams Removed?
Ice dams can be a major headache for homeowners. If you see accumulation on the lower parts of your roof, it is wise to contact a professional to remove it as soon as possible to prevent any lasting damage. Removing them by yourself can be both dangerous for you and for your home.
Before any damage occurs, it is best to make sure that the ice dam on your roof is removed. However, using a roof rake to pull the edges of your roof is not the correct way to do this. It requires removing the snow from your entire roof.
A very common removal technique professionals use is steam. However, we do not recommend this method for several reasons. The steam will spread melted water throughout the surrounding areas. Once the water freezes, your roof and the areas below it will be very slippery. In addition, steaming will end up costing you more because it can be a much longer process. If you have a steep roof, the steaming operator will have trouble walking on it and removal will take even longer.
The best ice dam removal technique is chipping. The process is quick and will end up costing you less than steaming. Be careful, however. It is not wise to do this on your own because you run the risk of damaging your shingles. An ice dam removal professional will work from a ladder. Instead of melted water falling from the roof, chunks will fall and can be easily removed from your yard to prevent a mess. Chipping will quickly prevent water from leaking into the cracks of your home as well.
For Minneapolis ice dam removal specialists like Dean Bjorkstrand, this takes time and careful planning. The reason is that without understanding where the hottest points are, and what is causing the change in temperature, the solutions you will get will simply be short-term. In no time you will be forced to remove it yourself or hire another ice dam removal professional.
Dean Bjorkstrand has been offering removal services for more than 30 years. If you see ice forming on your roof, be sure to contact our experts. We will safely remove buildup and keep your roof safe from damage. Instead of simply removing it, we offer suggestions and methods that will give a diminished rate of formation and absolute safety for your family. Why try to remove it yourself and risk getting injured? Let professionals like Dean Bjorkstrand do the job for you easily and quickly. Contact us to get started today!
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We always use Dean Bjorkstrand Landscaping for gutter cleaning (at least twice a year) and ice dam removal when necessary during the winter.
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