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Can Ice Dams Damage My Home?

Winter is a beautiful season. Falling temperatures give way to cold conditions that can yield snow and ice from the season’s winter storms. The result is a winter wonderland full of drifting snow, whimsically shaped icicles, and more.


And while most of us can appreciate the beauty of winter as an aesthetic, there’s much more work involved when it comes to dealing with the day-to-day mess that those winter storms create. In fact, some might even call it a headache.





As we move into the heart of the winter season, with plummeting temperatures and prime conditions for snow and ice, we wanted to take a minute to explore the risks that snow and ice can pose to homes, especially in the Mechanicsville, MD area. Check it out!


Ice Dams – What Are They?


One significant yet silent threat to your home during the winter months, especially your roof, is an ice dam. So, what exactly is an ice dam?


An ice dam occurs when warm areas of your roof (typically caused by underlying and sufficient heat beneath it, such as an attic, etc.) cause snow that has accumulated on your roof to melt. However, before that melted snow can run off your roof and exit via your gutter system, the water refreezes beneath the roof’s surface, causing a pocket of ice to block the flow of water.


Ice dams typically form near your gutter line in places where heat is escaping from the attic space below. This is where accumulated snow melts, moves down your roof, then refreezes before it can exit into the gutter system.


The Silent Threat of Ice Dams


Ice dams cause catastrophic damage to homes, typically in the form of roof and water damage. Ice dams are sometimes called silent threats because while they can certainly cause harm in the midst of a winter storm, they can also cause damage to roofs after a winter storm has passed and temperatures shift in a warmer direction.


You may be unaware of the insufficient insulation in your attic, which leads to heat escaping through your roof instead of staying inside your home. However, with the help of professional roofing contractors, homeowners can avoid this problem entirely.


How To Spot a Potential Ice Dam


If you are looking at your roof and notice icicles hanging, that’s one thing. However, if you notice icicles hanging from your gutter line and a significant amount of snow piling up behind those icicles (potentially even causing a sag on the gutters), that’s a cause for concern. This may indicate that there is a pocket of frozen water beneath that snow—in other words, an ice dam.


It is crucial to remember that if you have an ice dam on your roof, never chip away at it with a shovel or pick. This can cause significant damage to the layers of your roofing material. Instead, contact a professional roofing contractor like Summit Exteriors 301.


While you wait, try putting the ice melt in soft mesh material and laying that across the potential ice dam, allowing for some melted water to move and channel off your roof.


Preventing and Mitigating Ice Dams


While there are plenty of measures you can take during the winter and during a storm to prevent ice dams, the best way to keep yourself safe is to have a professional take a look at your attic and roof. They can provide specific recommendations for your home to keep you safe and protected.


Summit Exteriors 301 are exterior and roofing contractor experts in the Mechanicsville, MD area when it comes to keeping your home safe and your mind at ease during the winter. Whether it’s adding proper insulation to your attic space, repairing flashing to your chimney, ventilating your roofline, or sealing and insulating ducts, we are your answer to all your exterior needs.


Give us a call or check out our website for more information. We’d love to answer any questions you have about your current roof or attic space and how you can make it safer during this beautiful, yet sometimes dangerous, winter season.

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