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How To Prevent Roof Ice Dams

Ice dam formed on edge of roof with icicles dripping down

With heavy snowfall during the Pennsylvania winters, ice dams are a serious problem that can plague homeowners. These buildups of ice can lead to excess moisture and damage that can threaten the structural integrity of your roof. That’s why it’s critical to take the necessary steps to prevent ice dams as a means of protecting your property and ensuring that your roof lasts.  

What Is an Ice Dam?

An ice dam is a buildup of ice that forms on the edge of your roof or within your home’s gutters. Because this ice prevents water from flowing off your roof, it will pool and continue to freeze in large sections. This can then put serious strain on your roof eventually leading to leaks, water damage, a sagging roof, and more. Since it’s difficult to see into your gutters or to the edge of your roof, especially on two-story homes, it’s important to know the signs that your roof has ice dams, including icicles on the side of your home or a ridge of ice and snow at the edge of your roof. 

What Causes Ice Dams?

Ice dam formed on a roof

Ice dams occur when large amounts of snow on your roof melt but then refreeze at the gutter. This is often due to a change in temperature. The snow can melt during the day, moving toward the edge of your roof, and then refreeze once the temperatures drop again at night. This is especially common if your attic has poor insulation, as the heat that you are producing indoors will cause the heavy snow melt, but once that water reaches the eaves of your roof far from the attic heat, the temperature significantly drops and causes it to refreeze. This can also occur when your gutters are clogged with leaves and debris, leaving no room for water on your roof to run off. 

How To Prevent Them

Ice dams can cause significant damage to your roof by trapping water that can work its way under your roof or put additional strain on it, causing structural damage. That’s why it’s important to take preventative steps during times of heavy snowfall to ensure that your home and roof are protected. This includes:

  • Rake snow off of the roof: By removing excess snow after storms, you can help prevent ice dams from forming. A roof rake is a long-handled tool to remove any buildup of snow. 
  • Install attic insulation: Proper attic and roof insulation means the snow on your roof won’t melt and create ice dams. It’s also a good idea if you’ve noticed high energy bills during the winter months or if your attic commonly leaks.
  • Seal airflow leaks: Airflow leaks can also cause heat to escape your home and melt the snow on your roof and should be sealed.

Call Zimmerman’s Roofing for Expert Roofing Services

If an ice dam has damaged your roof or you are looking for more advice on preventing them, turn to Zimmerman’s Roofing. Our highly experienced roofing contractors have the skills and tools to provide roof repairs and replacements backed by our 10-year, leak-free guarantee. Plus, with our upfront pricing and 100% satisfaction guarantee, you can trust that you’re getting superior service from our locally owned and operated team.

Call Zimmerman’s Roofing today at (717) 354-3737 to get started with roofing services in Central Pennsylvania.

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