As a soon-to-be or current homeowner in the Midwest, you must be on the lookout for snow and ice during winter. When snow and ice build up on your roof, it can lead to many problems. The weight can weaken the roof, decreasing its lifespan. This may lead to water damage and significant leaks within your home. Ice dams can also damage your gutters and exterior siding or paint. To prevent damage due to ice dams, you need to understand why they form and how to prevent them.
Ice dam formation
Ice dams form on the edges of roofs, particularly on gutters, when there is snow on the roof that melts and then refreezes. According to homeowner advice website The Spruce, when the outside temperature is below 32 degrees Fahrenheit and the surface temperature of higher portions of the roof are higher than 32 degrees, then the snow at the higher part of the roof melts and flows down. If everything were warming up, then the water would continue to flow down the gutters. However, hot air rises to the highest part of your home, and the peak of your roof can become very warm while the edges of your roof may remain quite cold. If the lower part of the roof is below 32, then the water turns into ice. It eventually forms a sizeable ice dam that causes water to pool on the roof, increasing the likelihood of water leaks into the attic and interior damage to the home.
Amerhart can help you prevent ice dams during Midwest winters.
There are short-term ways to fight ice dams, including roof rakes, brooms, and heated cables. The roof rakes and brooms can help you keep snow from accumulating on your roof. However, this is an issue if you cannot safely reach all parts of your roof, and it takes a lot of time. Heated cables are known to only be slightly effective and can lead to a dam forming higher up on the roof. Short-term solutions should only be used when you realize there is a problem and you need time before you can renovate.
There are also many ways to more assuredly reduce the risk of ice dams during harsh Midwest winters, including:
- Ensure your ceilings has insulation to keep heat in your home and not trapped in the attic.
- Ensure your roof is properly ventilated so that heat can escape.
- Do not keep any heat sources in the attic.
- Install a soffit to allow for air flow under the roof and keep it around the outside temperature.
- Install baffling in your attic to ensure air flow.
The goal is to keep heat within your home while your roof stays as cold as possible. You want the underside of your roof to be as close in temperature to the exterior portion of your roof as possible. Ensuring air flow underneath the roof with baffling and soffit is essential.
To learn more about these using baffling, soffit, and other ventilation methods to protect your roof and home, contact us at Amerhart today.