Ice dams form when melting snow on the top of the roof dribbles down to the eaves and re-freezes. When this happens, a traffic jam of ice begins to take shape. Some of this ice takes the shape of icicles hanging over the side of the home, while the rest of the ice backs up onto the roof and under the shingles. Eventually, that ice melts into the attic, causing water damage.
The best way to handle an ice dam is to prevent one from ever starting. However, you may reach a point in mid-winter when an ice dam has formed and it's too late for prevention. With appropriate damage control measures, you can stop the ice dam from worsening and fix the problem temporarily until the roofing company can fix your problem more permanently.
What can you do about an ice dam in the middle of winter?
Since the ice on your roof is melting into your attic, you can stop the problem cold by opening the vents in your attic and setting up a few fans to blow cold air around the space. This will lower the temperature in your attic enough that the melting ice will re-freeze and stop dripping into the lower parts of your house.
Once this is done, contact a roofing company to get a quote for repair.
What can you do to prevent an ice dam from forming in the future?
Ice dams are often the result of hot spots in your attic. Warm air rises from the lower parts of the house into the attic, causing snow and ice on top of the roof to melt. Often this problem can be prevented by properly insulating the attic. Warm air from the furnace can also leak out of the air ducts, if the air ducts are not properly sealed and insulated. If this is the case, you can solve the problem by having the air ducts in your attic inspected by an HVAC professional and having them repaired.
It also helps to ensure that your attic has adequate ventilation. Allowing a good exchange between cold outdoor air and warm inside air can regulate the temperature inside the attic, which helps to ensure that the snow on the roof will melt evenly.
Ice dams can do extensive damage resulting in expensive repairs. For more information about how you can fix an ice dam or prevent an ice dam from forming, contact an experienced roofing company (such as Ranger Roofing) in your area.