Ice Dams 101

ice dam‘Tis the season…for ice dams. Current weather conditions make our homes vulnerable to icicles and ice dams. Many homeowners may not know the basics so we’re offering Ice Dams 101. We asked our experts here at Feinmann – our wonderful Project Management team –  about ice dams, causes and prevention.

Q: If an icicle is present, does that mean there’s an ice dam?

A:  Not necessarily but it is an indicator that there is a potential for an ice dam to form.

Q: What is an ice dam?

A: A build up of frozen snow and ice that traps the water close to the surface of the roof’s edge, blocking the ability for the water to cascade off. Ice dams can occur even with gutters if the snow and ice backs up inside of them.

Q: What causes an ice dam?

A: Air leakage (heat) leading to ice build-up, then water infiltration.

Q: How do I know if I have an ice dam?

A: You may see a water spot on your ceiling or where the wall meets the ceiling or you may have water dripping into your home.

Q: What can I do if I suspect I may have an ice dam forming?

A: During the winter months, try to keep snow off of areas prone to melting and re-freezing and watch for areas vulnerable to water penetration, especially at the edge of your roof or wherever roof lines meet. In the spring, contact Feinmann’s HomeCrew™ to have a home maintenance evaluation.

Q: Can ice dams be prevented?

A: Yes! Proper insulation is one key to preventing ice dams. Insulation regulates the temperature of your home year-round.

Q: Is there anything else I can do?

A: Some people line the edge of their roof or their gutters with electric wires that melt the snow and ice and keep the water flowing. You can also install a quality ice and water shield product at the edge of all structures.

You can read more from Energy Star here.