What are ice dams and how can I protect against them?

The right weather conditions for ice dams are usually when outside air temperatures are in the low 20s for several days with several inches of snow on the roof. Ice dams typically form when snow on the roof starts to melt due to heat escaping from inside the home. The melted water runs down the roof, refreezes and clogs up gutters. As more snow melts, because the gutters are blocked, the water is forced to travel under the shingles and leak into the house.

To prevent them:

  • Clean your gutters bi-annually to make sure water can run through them without being blocked by leaves, twigs or debris.
  • Add insulation to attic floors. A well-insulated attic and well-ventilated roof will prevent heat from escaping, which in turn will protect the roof from conditions that cause ice dams.
  • During winter months, make sure your downspouts are clean at ground level.
  • Use gutter tablets. Place these in your gutters at the beginning of the winter months and they will prevent ice from damming in them all season.
  • If you get several inches of snow at once, you may want to remove some of it from your roof using a roof rake.

Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

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