How to Tell I Have Ice Dams

It’s winter. The snow is beautiful outside and you’re enjoying a warm cup of cocoa, but meanwhile, your roof is suffering. Are you able to spot ice dams? They’re easy to see. Everyone has icicles on their roof. But if you have the large ones, at least 2-3 inches in diameter, then those are ice dams. They look pretty, but the problem is that they’re preventing water from draining off of your roof, and this can pose a serious problem in the long run.

Ice dams form from the heat the is coming from your attic. This could be due to an underlying problem with your insulation. You can get on the roof with a rake and clear those ice dams as soon as they form, but this can be dangerous and a serious pain. The smartest choice is to hire a professional to inspect your roof and amend the underlying causes of your ice dams.

Ice dams tend to form when water from the melting snow freezes into ice at the very edge of your roof. Inefficient snow removal will cause ice dams to form. When they get large in size, they prevent water from melting snow from draining off of your roof in an efficient manner, as previously mentioned. This water will then begin to pool underneath your shingles, and it will eventually make its way into the interior of your home.

Depending upon the slope and orientation of your roof, ice dams can form in different places, but they tend to collect on the edge of your roof. Inspect the icicles around your home, and if they’re confined to the gutters and there’s no water trapped behind them, then they’re not dams. But still, know that icicles are the precursor to ice dams. When it is safe to do so, always remove them, but be sure to not stand directly beneath them when you do this! If you cannot reach them safely, then it’s always a smart idea to hire a contractor who can help you with proper removal.

Another telltale sign that you have dams is when there is water damage or moisture in your attic or along the ceiling of your home. Stains are an indication that water has penetrated the roof membrane. Ice dam formation isn’t the end of the world, but it does call upon you to take action. When you want to extend the life of your roof, and your home, you need to stay on top of ice dam formation.