An ice dam roof leak can be devastating when not fixed early. So, if you live in a snowy region or areas with cold-winter climates, you need to beware of ice dam formations on your roof. The ice dams can cause significant damage to your roof if not controlled.
If you are unsure how to handle ice dams, you don’t have to worry. There are several ways to prevent ice dams from forming and maintain your roof’s structural integrity. All you need to do is prepare the right tools and equipment to begin the project.
But before we get started, it’s essential to understand what ice dams are and how they form on the roof during snowy seasons. Thankfully, this guide explores all of that. You’ll also learn how to prevent the ice dams from forming and fix an ice dam roof leak.
That said, let’s get started!
What’s An Ice Dam and How Does it Form
An ice dam is a lump of ice that usually forms at the edge of a sloped roof, preventing melted water from passing over the roof edge. When the ice dams block water from draining, they can find their way through the roof shingles and cause ice dam leaks.
So, how can you spot an ice dam causing a roof leak?
Ice dams are easy to spot. When an ice dam forms, you’ll see giant icicles hanging on the roof’s eaves. The icicles might look pretty, but they pose significant risks to gutters and downspouts. They can also loosen shingles and allow water to leak into the house.
When you notice icicles overhanging along the edges of your home’s roof, you need to take immediate action. But before you do that, it’s essential to understand how ice dams form. That will help you tackle the issue from the source.
So, how do ice dams form?
Generally, ice dams form when snow on the roof melts and refreezes along the roof’s eaves. When the roof covering the attic space gets warm, the snow lump accumulating on the roof will melt from below. The melted water will trickle down between the shingles and underside of the snow hump on the roof until it reaches the roof’s eaves.
When the melted water reaches the eaves, it gets exposed to the cold air and starts to re-freeze as it trickles to the ground. As a result, it forms overhanging pieces of ice known as icicles.
How to Fix Roof Leak from Ice Dam
Ice dam roof leaks can cause property damages if not fixed early. The good news is that you can fix the problem in two steps. First, you can prevent the ice dams from forming. You can also remove the ice dams that have already accumulated on your roof.
If you notice ice dams forming on your rooftop, you need to remove them as soon as possible before they cause extensive damages. Thankfully, clearing the snow can solve the roof leak problems resulting from ice dams.
Here are the steps to follow to repair a roof leak caused by an ice dam.
- Clear the Snow Using a Roof Rake
Get a long-handled roof rake and pull the snow on your roof while standing safely on the ground. This will prevent the snow from refreezing into an ice dam. The best roof rake has wheels that move on the roof to prevent scratches and damages.
The roof rake also has a flat side that can gently pull snow from the roof. You can remove the snow without damaging the shingles. It’s better than a chisel or shovel, which can damage the roof and result in roof leakages.
- Blow Cold Air into the Attic Using a Fan Box
You can also blow cold air using a fan box when you notice ice dam leaks in your roof or attic space. This method is better than removing ice dams using a chisel, hammer, or shovel. All you have to do is point the fan box towards the leaking points on the roof.
The cold air penetrating the attic space will re-freeze the melted ice and temporarily stop the leak in a few minutes. However, this method can’t solve the roof leak problem permanently. Besides, you have to keep the fan box running to stop the roof leaks.
How to Permanently Fix an Ice Dam Roof leak
Removing ice dams from the roof using a roof rake or fan box seems pretty simple, but it doesn’t solve the problem permanently. For that reason, it’s essential to invest in techniques that can stop the formation of ice dams and prevent ice dam leaks.
Here are the methods to permanently stop the leaks resulting from ice dams.
- Ventilate the Eaves and Ridges
Ventilating the space under the roof deck helps to keep the colder air outside circulating in the attic space. So, it prevents the space from warming up, preventing the snow on the roof from melting. For that reason, install soffit and ridge vents on the roof.
- Add Insulation to the Living Space
Another strategy is to add insulation to the living space to prevent heat from rising to the attic space. For example, insulating the attic floor will stop the living space’s heat from passing through the ceiling. That way, you’ll maintain cooler temperatures in the attic.
- Keep All the Heat Sources Away from the Roof
Consider eliminating or blocking all the heat sources that may increase the temperature in the attic space. These include the ducts connected to your kitchen, dryer vents, and bathroom. Instead, exhaust the heat from these sources to the outside.
If you live in a snowy region, don’t let an ice dam roof leak damage your roof and property. Instead, apply all the techniques mentioned in this guide to prevent ice dams from forming on your rooftop. If you have trouble removing the ice dams from your roof, consider hiring Roof Master & Construction to resolve the problem permanently.
Contact us today to speak to one of our professional roofers for immediate help.