Ice Dams

Ice Dams

What is an Ice Dam?

An ice dam is a hump of ice that forms at the edge of the roof. Ice dams form when a home’s escaping heat warms the roof and melts the underside of the snow layer on the roof. Water trickles down the roof until it reaches the cold at the edge of the roofing, where it freezes. After a while, the ice at the edge gets thicker, forming an ice dam. This puts your roof and the inside of your building at risk. If the water reservoir behind the ice dam is large enough, water can back up under the roof shingles and damage ceilings.

Stay Safe if Ice Dams Form

  1. Clear off roof hatches of snow and ice. If hatches are not cleared and there is an emergency we will not be able to access the roof.
  2. Clear snow & ice away from heat pumps. Heat pumps can freeze, causing improper functioning.
  3. If you run A/C in the winter due to internal load, be sure to:
    1. Clear snow & ice away from condensing unit.
    2. Make sure your A/C is capable of low ambient operation.
  4. Keeping snow away from equipment electrical panels will help prevent water from entering and possibly causing short circuiting.
  5. Safety with snow & ice is always a concern. Keeping your equipment accessible during the winter time can make it easier for our service technicians to access your equipment safely if repairs are necessary.
  6. Beware of snow and ice falling on family members, tenants & the public.
  7. Ice deposits can form slip hazards on the ground.
  8. Beware of mold and spores caused by moisture accumulating indoors can be hazardous to your health.

Tips to Prevent Ice Dams

The four possible solutions to reduce escaping heat and prevent ice damming are:

  1. Sealing air leaks between the warm interior and the attic or cathedral ceiling.
  2. Adding more ceiling insulation.
  3. Improving ventilation between the top of the insulation and the roof sheathing.
  4. Installing a rubberized membrane under the roofing.

Leave a Comment