Preventing Ice Dam Formation

Ice Dams: Winter Is Upon Us

With winter upon us already, it’s wise to take precautionary measures now to prevent the formation of ice dams. Not sure how to prevent ice dams? There are a few different ways. Some are more extensive and take more forethought than others, but there are definitely ways to combat the formation of ice dams as the cold weather settles in for the long haul.

ice dam formation on the gutters


Ice dams are not something you want on your roof. They can lead to roof damage, resulting in leaks into the home and damaging your gutters by pulling them away from the home. These ridges of ice and snow accumulate at the edge of your roof because there’s no heat to warm up the roof at that juncture.

This build-up prevents melting snow from running off the roof, where it gets stuck at the ice dam. What happens? It backs up slowly until that water starts to leak and damage your walls and ceilings.


Yes, there are ways you can prevent ice dams from forming. First off, keep the roof the same temperature as the eaves underneath, says This Old House. By adding more insulation to the attic and sealing up any air leaks around the home, you can take many strides towards achieving this. Warm air leaks are essentially heating up the underside of your roof, which leads to melting and pooling of water.

You want to keep your roof as cold as possible to discourage melting. This is an important area of concern, as you lose one-third of your heat through the attic. Go through the home and caulk any leaks around light fixtures, telephone jacks, doors, windows, drywall gaps, pipes, and chimneys. Use extra insulation where you see fit and increase ventilation with more roof and soffit vents.


Another solution is to install heat tape or heat cables to the edge of your roof. With the flick of a switch, you can heat up those cables, which in turn melt away any ice that may start to accumulate at the edges. Quality clog-free gutters also aid in the fight against ice dams. Steaming is another approach, which is best left up to the professionals.

They use special equipment to heat up water, releasing steam through wands that are used to slowly melt away forming ice dams. They then break off the remaining ice chunks so there’s nothing left. Of course, you don’t want to let it get to this point.

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