Ice Dams = Not so Nice Damage

If you know anything about Country Creek Builders, you know that we do a lot of water damage restoration. And now that winter is approaching its end and the great Minnesotan thaw is beginning we’re only going to get busier.

One of the main culprits of water damage this time of year is the old friend, ice dam. It’s pretty likely that if you haven’t dealt with them personally already, you’ve heard about someone who has. They are one of the most common causes of water damage in Minnesotan homes but they are also one of the most preventable, if you know why they occur and what to do about it, that is. Because they only come around once a year it’s easy to keep putting off long-term prevention , but the longer you do the more susceptible your house becomes, and the more likely you are to have major problems in the future.

So what exactly are ice dams, anyway? Well, simply put, an ice dam is a chunk of ice that forms at the edge of a roof and prevents melting snow from draining off the top of your house. As we all know, melting snow turns into water, water can turn into leaks, and leaks can turn into damage to walls, ceilings, insulation, and pocket books. Ice dams form because of differing roof surface temperatures caused by extensive snow cover and the interactions between heat loss from the house and outside air. When melting snow runs into portions of the roof that are below 32 degrees Fahrenheit, they freeze and form ice ridges (or dams), but because the roof surface temperature is not uniform and some areas are above freezing point, water that runs down after the ridges are formed remains liquid and gets trapped.

There are a couple ways to prevent ice dams. The main short-term solution? Remove snow. If no snow is on the roof, then no snow can melt and form ice dams/backed up water. Raking snow from your roof is a tricky and dangerous business, however, and we always encourage our clients to seek professional help. The long-term solutions, while naturally a little more involved, are absolutely well worth it. Doing everything possible to make the roof temperature uniform by preventing heat loss from your home is the best thing you can do to avoid ice dams. We know all about the best ways to insulate and ventilate so give us a call and we’ll take care if your nasty ice dams once and for all.

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