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The first blustery signs of winter can bring with it feelings of joy, excitement and wonder, as you build snowmen and catch snowflakes on your tongue. These initial innocent flurries, however, can turn out to pose a real threat of danger to your roof, gutters, insulation and more.

The Danger of Ice Dams

Ice dams occur when snow melts on the warm upper part of a roof, normally caused by not having proper heat ventilation in the attic. This water flows down and reaches the part of the roof that is much cooler, and the water re-freezes before it has a chance to just flow off the roof like normal. This ice can creep its way under the shingles of your roof and then melt again, leaking into the attic and compromising the structural integrity of your home.

Preventing Ice Dams

The most effective and long-lasting solution to this issue is to ensure that your roof is properly ventilated and insulated to prevent heat from getting trapped in your attic. Without adequate ventilation, warm air is almost sure to get trapped in the attic and keep your roof warmer than you’d like it to be. The most widely recommended method of roof ventilation is through vents in the overhang of your roof, called soffit vents. You should also have a ridge vent along the peak of the roof, if possible. You should also be sure to seal any gaps that may let warm air leak into the attic from inside the rest of your house. You want to keep your attic and roof as cool as possible, so the snow piled on the top of your house doesn’t have the opportunity to melt and refreeze into a dam in the first place. Also, using a roof rake to remove snow from your roof before it has a chance to melt can also increase your chances of dodging the ice dam bullet.

Even with preparation, sometimes you may find yourself with an ice dam forming under the most severe conditions, despite all your best efforts to keep this very thing from happening. If this situation is one that you find yourself facing, there are some things you can do to try to prevent as much damage as you can.

When to Bring in a Professional

We don’t recommend climbing up on an icy roof.

It’s better to leave this work to a professional! However, it’s possible that in less severe cases, you can try applying some calcium chloride, or snowmelt, to the ice dam. Fill a pair of pantyhose with the snow melt and lay it across the dam. If this doesn’t do a good enough job of clearing up the dam, the best way to handle it is to have Ned Stevens clear the dam for you. This way, you’ll both ensure your safety and that of your home’s roof.

Once your roof is clear of any threatening dams, you’ll want to make sure you take note of any water that may have leaked into your home Look for signs of mildew, rot or other abnormalities in appearance or structure, and take the necessary actions to secure your home. To take even further precaution against the horrors of the ice dam, be sure to have a water-and-ice barrier installed underneath the shingles. Having a protective membrane over the edges of your roof, as well as any points where the lines of your roof meet (called valleys), can ensure that even if water manages to get under the shingles of your roof, it should minimize the window of opportunity that the water has to damage your home sweet home.

Take advantage of Ned Stevens early with our Diamond service plan. With our plan, you’ll not only get all our recommended gutter cleanings throughout the year, but you’ll also get priority scheduling, discounts on many of our supplemental services, and you’ll also get our most competitive prices. Ensure your home and roof are guarded against the elements with a little help from the professionals at Ned Stevens!

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