Ice dams are a substantial situation for homeowners, especially during winter. These dams form when the snow melts and refreezes at the roof's edge, potentially causing extensive damage to a house's exterior and interior. The experts at Asheville Seamless Gutters and Home Solutions specializes in gutter cleaning in Asheville, North Carolina and have compiled this guide to help homeowners identify and manage ice dam formations. Read on to learn more about ice dams and what you can do about them.
Primary Formation Areas
1. Eaves Edge: The eaves edge of the roof is the most prevalent area for ice dam formation, accounting for approximately 80% of cases.
2. Skylights: Ice dams commonly occur both below and above skylights. Those forming above are particularly challenging to spot from the ground.
3. Roof Openings: Areas around pipes, vents, and other roof openings are prone to ice dam formations.
4. Dormer Valleys: The valleys of dormers frequently experience ice dams. It's crucial to avoid using chisels or hammers near these valleys to prevent additional damage.
5. Low Pitch Roofs: Roofs with a low pitch are susceptible to ice damming, even with a minimal ice build-up of 1 to 2 inches.
6. Vaulted Ceilings: Interior rooms with vaulted ceilings, especially those with recessed lighting, are likelier to have ice dams.
7. Furnace Flues and Chimneys: Although smaller, ice dams around these areas can still lead to leaking.
8. Unheated Spaces: Typically, ice dams do not form over unheated spaces like porches or garages.
Handling Existing Ice Dams
Removing existing ice dams requires caution. Breaking the ice dam into small pieces without damaging the shingles is key. Avoid sharp tools, and consider using a blunt mallet instead. Due to the risks involved, seeking assistance from professionals like Asheville Seamless Gutters and Home Solutions Gutter is advisable.
Properly maintaining gutters and downspouts is crucial. After removing the ice dam, clear these areas and use calcium chloride ice melter to create melt troughs. Avoid rock salt, which can harm metals, paint, and plants beneath the eaves.
Preventing Future Ice Dams
Preventing ice dams can save homeowners from costly repairs. Here are some proactive steps:
1. Snow Removal: After snowfall, remove snow from the roof using a shovel or broom. For safety, consider hiring a professional.
2. Gutter Preparation: Ensure gutters are well-maintained before the onset of snow.
3. Seal Air Leaks: Seal all points where warm air might leak from the interior to the area beneath the roof shingles.
4. Effective Insulation: Insulate the living space to prevent heat conduction and convection through the ceiling.
5. Proper Ventilation: Vent the space between the insulation and roof sheathing to contain any leaked heat.
By understanding the common locations of ice dams and implementing these preventive measures, homeowners can significantly lessen the risk of deterioration to their property. For professional help, especially with gutter cleaning and maintenance in Asheville, consider contacting Asheville Seamless Gutters and Home Solutions.