How to Prevent Ice Dams on Your Roof
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How to Prevent Ice Dams on Your Roof

We are into the thick of fall here in the Twin Cities, and that can mean only one thing: winter is coming!

The harsh and long winters in Minnesota can show many challenges for homeowners. One of the biggest challenges faced by Minnesota homeowners is ice dams.

Ice dams in the winter are inevitable. However, if you are willing to take precautionary measures, you can say goodbye to them altogether.

Here’s how you can prevent ice dams this winter!

How Do Ice Dams Form?

Before we get into prevention, we must first examine how ice dams form.

When the temperature dips below freezing and snow begins to fall, snow will begin to accumulate on your roof. If your roof is warming above 32 degrees F, snow will begin to melt and run down to the edge where the gutters sit.

Sometimes the sun melts the snow, or sometimes your attic heats up due to poor ventilation. The melted snow will accumulate at the gutters and begin to freeze again. This process will repeat until you have a full-blown ice dam.

Why Is Ice Dam Removal Important?

Ice dam removal is necessary because leaving them unchecked can cause damage to your gutters and roof. Some of the damage ice dams can cause include:

  • Broken, cracked, or fallen gutters due to the weight of ice

  • Backed up melting snow can leak into your attic

  • Clogged gutters that don’t allow melted snow to drain away

  • Damage to your shingles, making them less effective at protecting your roof

  • Fascia and soffit damage from evasive water

  • Increased risk of the roof collapsing under the weight

As you can see, there are many dangerous (and expensive) consequences of ice dams on your roof. Let’s take a look at ice dam prevention.

Ice Dam Prevention

Preparing your roof for winter is the best way to prevent ice dams and other wintertime problems. The main way to prevent ice dams from forming is to keep the temperature of your roof below freezing. Keeping your roof at a lower temperature will prevent the snow sitting on top of your roof from melting and freezing again at the edge.

Here are some ways to keep your roof at a consistently cold temperature:

Close Attic Bypasses

As you may know, heat rises. This is especially true in the wintertime, as the heating elements in your home are working full-time. On average, a third of heat loss happens through your attic to your roof.

To prevent heat loss in your attic, plug any holes or find a way to ensure no heat can escape.

Reinforce Your Attic Insulation

Another way to prevent heat loss is to add insulation to your attic. If you have eight inches or less of insulation in your attic, you may want to add more before the cold weather hits.

Add Roof and Soffit Vents

Ventilation in your roof is important in winter as it brings in cold air while venting out any warm air. If your attic lacks the necessary ventilation, we suggest installing soffit vents to prevent this from happening!

Proper Ice Dam Removal

Ice dam removal can be tricky, and it's best to follow safe procedures when doing so. If you plan to DIY ice dam removal, make sure you never hammer or chip at the ice dam. This can be dangerous and cause damage to your roof or gutters. Also, never use ice-melting chemicals, as they can damage your shingles.

Hot water is the easiest way to remove an ice dam, which will melt the ice enough to help it break apart. Always use proper ladder safety when climbing to your roof.

If you don’t feel safe removing ice dams on your own, contact a professional.

Contact Timberline for All Your Roofing Needs

When you need ice dam removal or any other roofing services such as inspection, hail damage repair, or full roof replacement, contact Timberline Roofing & Contracting!

Request a free quote today or call us at 612-284-5329 now for fast help!

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