Winter weather brings about a slew of issues for any homeowner. Apart from the falling temperatures and potential hazards around your property, you should keep an eye out for the formation of an ice dam.
An ice dam formation can jeopardize the structural integrity of your roof and is one of the primary causes of water damage to homes.
Meanwhile, solidified runoff collected at the edge of your roof or gutters forms an ice dam. Nevertheless, when inspecting your home’s roof during the winter season, make it a priority that you know how to identify if you have an ice dam problem.
What Is An Ice Dam?
An ice dam will likely develop once the snow melts on the warmer parts of your roof, usually near the top, where excess heat in the attic accumulates.
The ice forms a dam that stops snow from freely draining off the roof, generating a water buildup that can seep into your home. In most cases, an ice dam can cause water damage and may even compromise the structural integrity of your home, insulation, and roof shingles.
Essentially, you should know how to identify if you have an ice dam problem. If you notice one or more signs of ice dam formation on your roof, you’ll be able to reduce leaks in your home by positioning a fan beneath the leak.
When the cold air comes into contact with the water, it’ll solidify and plug the hole temporarily, long enough for you to call a professional to inspect and repair it.
However, due to the slippery nature of roofs, it’s not advisable to try to melt an ice dam yourself. Working with a professional to carry out the necessary ice dam fixes is wise.
Knowing The Signs Of An Ice Dam Problem
When your area is prone to severe winters, knowing how to identify if you have an ice dam problem is a must. Identifying an ice dam is a straightforward process. Icicles hanging over the edge of your roof indicate a developing ice dam.
Moreover, you should also be familiar with the warning signs that an ice dam has developed on your roof.
Here are some common signs to keep in mind:
1. Hot Spots On The Roof
The melting and refreezing of snow on your roof is one of the reasons ice dams develop over time. The process usually begins in areas known as hot spots. A hot spot develops when warm air escapes the roof, particularly around the skylights or vents.
When checking for hot spots, you must go outside after it snows. If you can find areas of the roof that are free of snow, your roof most likely has an ice dam. Remember where the bare patches are because they’re likely hot spots.
2. Leaks In The Interior
Since ice dams prevent the normal flow of drainage off your roof, it can result in water damage within your home. In most cases, you’ll notice cracks in the ceiling, new stains or discoloration, mold formation, or peeling paint.
A serious ice dam can even result in trickling water, usually on the upper floor of your house. In most cases, water damage is likely to develop within a few feet of the external wall. It usually starts right beneath where the dam’s presence causes water to back up.
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3. Formation Of Unusually Large Icicles
Most homeowners believe that the formation of any icicles on the roof’s edge indicates the presence of an ice dam. Although this is usually false, having an ice dam can cause large icicles.
Make it a priority to assess the appearance of the icicles forming in your home. If the icicles appear to be hanging directly from the upper part of the roof where the shingles are or from the gutter troughs, they’re most likely formed by an ice dam. On the other hand, small-sized icicles and those that form below the roof or gutters might not be due to an ice dam.
4. Development Of Ice On The External Walls
Aside from the roof, it would be best if you inspected your home’s exterior walls. Once you notice the formation of ice on the external walls, under the siding, or in any unusual location, the presence of an ice dam is to blame.
As the water backs up on the roof eave, it’s likely to seep in behind surfaces and solidify. It may appear as water stains or discoloration in warm weather. Unfortunately, water has already entered your attic, causing damage to the insulation and drywall.
Knowing how to identify if you have an ice dam problem will come in handy in preventing problems with your roof.
As the winter weather bears down on your home, you need to watch out for potential issues that can affect the overall integrity of your house and even result in severe water damage. Knowing the warning signs of an ice dam can help you avoid further damage to your home.