Ice dams can result in damage to property, injuries, and fatalities, if not taken seriously. Homeowners in the Twin Cities often ignore ice dams or attempt to tackle the problem without professional help. It is important to understand what an ice dam is and how they are caused. Then they need to be removed safely.
Ice Dams Defined
An ice dam – unsurprisingly – is an ice barrier that builds up on the edge of your roof. When snow begins to melt, turning into sludge and water, it has no way of draining off the roof. With nowhere for the water to go, it keeps building up behind the dam and eventually begins to penetrate your home. Damage to insulation, walls, ceilings and anywhere water touches is a very real possibility if you have an unchecked ice dam.
Ice Dam Causes
The heat loss from your home plays a large part in helping an ice dam form. Other factors include the temperature outside and the amount of snowfall. The temperature on the upper surface of the roof becoming high enough to melt snow while the lower surface is cold enough to freeze the water as it begins to roll off the roof is two necessary factors in the formation of an ice dam. These factors combined with an outside temperature of below 32 degrees, and a ridge of ice forms. Any water runoff is trapped behind the dam, and that is when your problems really begin.
The dam will continue to grow as runoff frees and adds to the mass of the ridge. The sections of the roof that are above 32 degrees will remain unaffected by water freezing but will feed the ice dam when the snow melts. In weather where heavy or continuous snowfall is expected, homeowners are more likely to see ice dams later, in the thaw, resulting in the upper roof surface rising about 32 while the lower surface is closer to the outside temperature of below 32 degrees.
If you have an ice dam forming on your roof, do not delay in contacting Roof to Deck, to prevent damage from the resulting trapped water.
Safely Removing Snow from Your Roof
Allowing snow to build up on a roof is not generally advisable. The weight of the snow alone has the potential to cause buckling if there has been a heavy winter snowfall. If your roof is already damaged and leaking, when the snow begins to melt, it could cause catastrophic damage. Removing the snow is the best option, but it is a job that requires extreme caution.
Snow Removal Methods
There are two basic methods of removing snow from a roof: Roof raking and shoveling. The preferable option is to use roof raking equipment to remove snow throughout the colder months, rather than wait for a large buildup. Whether you, as the property owner, are able to carry out this task safely will depend on the shape of the roof and height of the building. For lower roofs or light snowfall, using a roof rake frequently will help prevent buildup.
Snow shoveling requires climbing onto the roof and removing large piles of snow at a time. There are numerous potential dangers involved. Climbing onto a roof in the winter when conditions are cold, slippery and generally treacherous is incredibly dangerous. Equipment such as a roof safety harness is needed; however, even then you run the risk of suffering serious injury or death. If you do decide to tackle snow removal on your own, it is best to use a plastic rather than a metal-edged shovel to minimize damage to the roof.
Safe Snow Removal
At Roof to Deck we can provide snow removal services to protect you and your property throughout the winter. Our employees are professionals who can navigate the risks of climbing onto a roof when conditions are unfavorable. Call Roof to Deck today if you need to remove snow from your roof safely and effectively.
When you ignore ice dams because you don’t see obvious signs of damage, you are running the risk of incurring tens of thousands of dollars in repairs. There are many factors that may impact the level of damage you are likely to experience.
The current state of your roof, the amount of heating you use, and the weather conditions where you live are just some of the things you need to take into account. When all things are considered, RTD Ice Dam Removal is the only way to ensure that you don’t end up in unnecessary debt.
As a Minnesota homeowner, you are likely to understand the basics of ice dam problems. It only takes one winter of owning a home in our cold climate to become aware of issues that can occur from ice dams. One preventive method is trying to reduce the amount of snow on your roof through shoveling or raking your roof. While this can be effective, it can also have its own hazards. Not only can it be risky in terms of injury, it can create bigger ice dam problems in the form of a double dam.