As a homeowner with a roof (that's you!), you should know about ice dams and how ice damming affects your home. Ice dams are among the winter conditions that can threaten damage to a home, and something all homeowners should be aware of.
Ice dams become a danger when temperatures remain below freezing in the days after a snow.
When snow begins to melt, if temperatures remain cold, it will form a layer of ice on the eaves of houses. As more snow melts, the ice layer gets thick enough to hold the melting water on the roof of a house.
This is a process that generally requires temperatures below 20 degrees for several days and several inches of snow on the roof.
As the water forms pools, what are known as “ponds.” Roofs are designed for water to run off of them, not puddle on them, and when the snowmelt forms ponds, it will force its way under shingles and leak into attic spaces or along exterior walls and cause extensive damage to your home.
Because ice dams can hold back a significant amount of water in the ponds – water that is constantly replenishing as snow continues to melt – a leak caused by an ice dam will allow quite a bit of water into your home.
The water will likely go unnoticed at first, dripping into the attic or running along the wall.
A homeowner might not even know that the water is leaking through the roof until it comes through the ceiling, and by then the damage is more than just cosmetic. Roofing, framing, and ceiling will all have to be replaced. It could also cause water damage to carpets or furniture.
Or if the leak is inside the wall, a homeowner might not be aware of it until the water has already done extensive damage to sheetrock. This could include mold inside the walls, warping on the studs, and even water draining to the lower floors. As we all know, water will find the lowest point to settle (and incubate mold).
In addition to replacing sheetrock, a mold removal expert will likely be necessary to get the mold out of the wall.
Ice dams do serious damage, and to protect your home it is important to be aware of how bad ice damming can be.