What is an ice dam? – Ice dams are a dam of ice that most often forms near the bottom, unheated edge of roof lines & valleys. Once the ice dam starts to build up, the water from the melting snow above the dam pools up with no where to go & thus backs up under the existing shingles and flashings and leaks into the attic and exterior walls. Once the water penetrates the roof deck, it can ruin insulation, resulting in lower R- values. If the problem persists and is not fixed, mold problems can occur at a later date.
How do ice dams start? – Heat loss in your homes attic is the primary cause of ice dams. Inadequate insulation and ventilation cause the temp at the roof surface to melt the snow which runs down the roof and re-freezes at the end of the roof where the unheated soffit exists. When the water hits this soffit area, that is below 32 degrees, the ice dam starts to form. Over time, heavy snow loads, with warm days & cool nights cause the ice dam to grow until the water has no where go, thus penetrating the roof line and leaking into the house.
How do I prevent ice dams? – Having your attic properly insulated & ventilated will keep your attic temperature down, which in turn keeps your roof surface cooler. Keeping the roof surface/attic cooler, will prevent ice dams from forming. Sealing off warm air leaks like, kitchen/bath/dryer vents and unsealed can lights will also help. Wrapping any heat producing ducts in a foil faced R-5 or R-6 insulation is also a big help. Finally, caulking any penetrations into the attic will also prevent heat loss & help save on heating costs.
How do I get rid of ice dams? – If ice dams have already formed, the best thing to do is to get rid of the snow blanket that exists above the ice dam. You can usually take off 6 to 8 ft. of snow above the ice dam, which will cut down on the amount of melting snow that is causing the formation. Once the insulated blanket of snow is removed, it will usually stop the ice dam from building. A roof rake is recommended for pulling the snow off the roof, but make sure not to damage your shingles in the process. If the ice dams are causing leakage, call a local professional, like Peak Xteriors, to provide expert Minnesota ice dam removal services. By steaming your ice dam off the roof, professionals will stop any further water intrusion. We use professional high temp, low pressure steam machines that will not damage your roofing materials.
Does my insurance cover ice dam damage? – Insurance companies do not pay preventative costs to avoid ice dams. However, if you have existing ice dams, with water intrusion, a call to your insurance company is warranted. They will let you know if your homeowners policy has coverage in such a event. HO-2 policies typically do not cover ice dams, however, HO-3’s usually do and HO-5’s include contents.