For ice dams to form, there must be snow on the roof and, at the same time, the highest parts of the outer surface of the roof must be above 32 degrees F (freezing point), while the lower surfaces must be below 32 F. These are average temperatures over periods of time held. An ice dam can be caused by heat loss in the house, snow cover on the roof, and outside temperature. When the temperature at the highest levels of the outer surface of the roof exceeds 32 degrees F, the snow on the roof surface will melt.
As the water flows down, it reaches the lower level of the roof, where the temperature may still be below 32 degrees, so it can freeze and cause an ice dam to form. The dam grows as more melted snow flows over the roof until water begins to accumulate behind the ice dam. This water finds cracks and openings in the outer roof cover and flows into the attic space. From the attic, it can flow to the outer walls or through the roof insulation and stain the roof.
Ice dams can cause significant damage to your home. They are mostly created by the heat that escapes from your house into the attic. An ice dam is an ice ridge that usually forms on the edge of a roof and prevents melted snow (water) from draining off the roof. There is very little snow left on the roof and on its edge there is an ice dam and a “beautiful row of icicles”.
Recessed lights, skylights, complicated roof designs and attic heating ducts will increase the risk of ice dams forming. Therefore, it is mainly the heat that flows from the house that causes uneven roof surface temperatures to cause ice dams. They literally create a dam that prevents ice and melted snow from flowing properly through gutters and out of downspouts. If you notice large icicles forming in the corners of your house or in the gutters, it's a telltale sign that ice dams are forming on the roof.
For ice dams to form, there must be snow on the roof and, at the same time, the highest parts of the outer surface of the roof must be above 32° F, while the lower surfaces are below 32° F. Therefore, it is strongly recommended that you ensure that your home is properly isolated if you want to avoid ice dams or keep them they will not return once they have been removed. Over time, the dam will grow so large that instead of the water freezing and becoming part of the dam, it will be trapped behind the dam. Whether you're in the winter months and need help quickly, or you need to consider someone if an ice dam ever affects your home, First American is your first and only option for removing ice dams.
Whether it's listening to a neighbor's horror story or maybe in your own home, you don't have to be an expert to tell you that ice dams can do a number on your roof. In an emergency, when water is already flowing into the house, the rupture of the channels through the ice dam allows the water behind the dam to drain from the roof. Once an ice dam forms, the only true solution is to completely remove the ice that is accumulating on the edge of the roof. Ice dams are possible whenever there are temperatures above freezing during the day and temperatures below freezing during the night.