Ice dams are more common in northern climates. They occur when the heavy accumulation of snow melts during the day and then freezes again when temperatures drop during the night. Ice accumulations form when heat from inside the house enters the attic and melts the snow. As water drips down the roof, it freezes again when it reaches the coldest eaves (the part of the roof that protrudes from the wall).
Ice dams begin when snow melts on an upper, warmer part of the roof, and then flows to the colder eaves, where it freezes again. As the ice builds up, an obstruction forms that prevents the snow from melting more snow from melting from the roof. Ice now starts to build up under the roof shingles, where it melts again, soaking up the roof coating and seeping into the attic. There, it soaks the insulation (making it much less effective).
You can now seep through the ceiling drywall below and reach your living space. In addition to indoor water damage, large ice dams can be very heavy and can damage gutters and even pose a safety hazard to the people below. Eliminating ice accumulations is critical to ensuring that your home is kept in good condition during the winter. 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.
If you're wondering how to fix an ice dam on the roof, here's how you can avoid them completely or remove them if they've already formed. Upon reaching the eaves, where the roof extends into air below freezing, the water freezes in an ice dam that causes water that melts further to fall back under the roof tiles. Therefore, taking the necessary steps to properly insulate your home is critical to preventing ice buildup in the first place. Even a well-sealed, heavily insulated and perfectly ventilated house can give way to ice deposits if there is deep snow on the roof for a long time.
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. Ice is called ice dams, and as more snow melts, it accumulates and freezes higher and higher above the roof. If you can't clear the ice dam outside your house now, you could have serious problems later on. In cases where the ice dam goes unnoticed for an extended period, it can cause significant damage to the building and its contents.
There have been a handful of cases of people losing their lives due to falling icicles, and ice dams are even bigger and heavier. The weight of the ice bin in the gutter can cause it to fall and risk hitting you or your loved ones when walking on the sidewalk or driveway. Giacalone says the key to preventing ice dams is to remove snow before it turns to ice, and if you have a multi-story house, you shouldn't do it yourself.