Have you ever looked at your house on a cold day and wondered why there were icicles all along the edges of your roof, while your neighbors had none at all? The most likely cause is ice damming.
An ice dam is a problem that can occur when the snow on your roof melts, and then refreezes along the eaves of your house. This can cause water to back up and leak into your home. In this article, we will discuss the causes of ice damming, as well as ways to prevent it from happening, including how a cold roof system can help.
How To Identify Ice Dams On Your Home
Aside from the obvious icicles and ice-clogged gutters, an ice dam can be hard to identify because their appearance changes throughout the winter. Here are some signs that there may be an ice dam on your roof:
– Stains on the exterior side of your eavestroughs. This is evidence of water leaking through your eavestrough and depositing itself on the ground beneath.
– Cracks or buckling in the ice on your roof that has formed into an ice dam. This happens because the water underneath expands as it freezes.
– Leaks inside your home at spots such as doors, windows, and baseboards where they meet exterior walls. Insulation near these areas can also become wet and moldy.
You don’t have to live in an area that gets a lot of snow to experience ice damming. An ice dam can happen in freezing rain, especially if your gutters have a buildup of debris in them.
Why are Ice Dams so Dangerous?
Ice dams are often very dangerous because they cause water damage inside your home. Water can leak through the ice dams and seep inside your home. Not only will this damage your insulation, it can lead to mold growth or cause electrical problems within your walls. On top of that, icicles can fall from high above and damage windows or other parts of your home. They can also fall onto individuals walking below, potentially causing serious injury.
How a Cold Roof Works
You may think that the cause of the melting snow on your roof is increasing temperatures and sunlight, which cause it to slide down and freeze in your gutters. However, the main cause of the melting snow on your roof is a warm attic, catching heat from your main living spaces throughout the house.
So how do you keep your roof cold enough to prevent the snow from melting in the first place? A cold roof system works by allowing more ventilation to run directly below, keeping snow from quickly melting and freezing around the edges.
A roof that protects against ice damming starts with a waterproof barrier that targets the areas that water is likely to pool.
In a cold roof, an air gap is also made to create more air flow. Intake and exhaust ventilation help squash humidity to prevent moisture and water damage.
A cold roof works by drawing heat away from your living spaces and releasing it to the outdoors through ventilation. By carrying this thermal energy away with it, the attic space loses less heat, and instead, exhaust fans carry that heat away from the building.
Don’t Forget To Maintain
As much grief as the cold roof saves, it’s still important to take some extra precautions to prevent ice dams. A snow rake can help you brush off extra snow on your roof. You can also prevent ice dams by installing gutters that slope in the proper direction for your climate. Or, you can install a gutter heating cable to melt away any ice before it becomes problematic.
If you want to save money on energy costs and prevent ice dams, consider installing a cold roof system in the future!