A house's heat loss, snow cover, and outside temperatures interact to form ice dams. 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. Ice dams form after a heavy snow on the roof. When the roof is heated due to the heat inside the attic, it causes the snow to melt and causes the melt water to flow down the roof.
It will freeze once it reaches the edge of the roof, forming an ice pile. This process will continue to form larger ice dams and may even cause significant damage to the home. Ice deposits and icicles form when snow melts, goes down the roof and freezes again near the edge. This only occurs when part of the roof is heated above 32 degrees F, hot enough to melt snow, while the roof edge remains below freezing point.
This scenario is usually the result of a warm attic. 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. This is the most common way ice dams form.
It happens when your home is simply not energy efficient. As we mentioned, air leaks are to blame for easily losing heat through the roof and can cause other problems along with ice dams. Over time, the dam will grow so much that, instead of the water freezing and becoming part of the dam, it will be trapped behind the dam. The ice dam will continue to grow from the melt water supply until the water no longer reaches the freezing point of the ceiling and begins to accumulate.
Temperatures can stay below freezing during the day and night, but ice dams can continue to form if the sun's radiant heat melts snow on the roof, even though the ambient temperature is below freezing. There have been a handful of cases of people losing their lives due to falling icicles, and ice dams are even bigger and heavier. 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. There are many problems that ice dams can cause in your home if you don't take proper precautions to prevent or eliminate them.
If you've had roof leaks in the past, hiring a professional to install an additional layer of protection could save you more roof damage from ice deposits. Or, ice dams can constantly form at the foot of roof valleys (the junction where two roofs meet at right angles) because they are filled with wind-blown snow. Therefore, it is strongly recommended that you ensure that your house is properly insulated if you want to prevent ice accumulations or prevent them from reappearing once removed. If you notice ice dams starting to form on the roof, there are some steps you can take to eliminate ice dams on the roof before they cause extreme damage.
In addition to this physical damage to property, there are a couple more warning signs that homeowners can begin to notice when they suffer damage from ice dams. Watch out for ice accumulations when temperatures range between 30 and 32 degrees, right at freezing point or just below freezing point. However, there are many other damages caused by ice dams that you may not notice until a while has passed. They literally create a dam that prevents ice and melted snow from flowing properly through the gutters and out through the downspouts.
Attached with clips along the edge of the roof in a zigzag pattern, heated cables help prevent ice deposits that lift roof tiles and cause leaks. .