Winter Storm Socks The Midwest Again!

Prevent Roof Damage From Roof Snow and Ice Dams

A winter storm that blew through the upper Midwest again on Feb. 20, 2011, left Minnesota homeowners with MORE snow on their roofs. The National Weather Service said up to 13 inches had fallen in the Twin Cities by Sunday night and light snow and freezing drizzle continued into Monday morning. The storm brought with it winds of 15 to 30 mph.

In the wake of these monster snow falls it is important to keep an eye on your roof as these extreme amounts of snow can be troublesome, and ice dams can begin to form as the snow accumulates.

An ice dam is formed on a slanted roof when heat from the attic causes snow on the roof to melt.  This water flows down the roof and then freezes when it reaches the edge of the roof where it comes in contact with the colder air.  This keeps additional run off from draining off of the roof.  The water then builds up behind the ice dam where it can seep under shingles and into the house.

How to Spot an Ice Dam

The tell tale sign of an ice dam is a lot of icicles or a large icicle hanging from the roof.  You might also find ice in your gutters or downspouts, which will cause water to back up behind it and into the house.

What Causes an Ice Dam?

Warm roofs likely the cause of ice dams. Ice dams are caused by heat escaping through your roof and melting the snow sitting on the roof.  This heat transfer can occur in 2 ways.

  • Conduction. Heat energy traveling through a solid.  Heat can escape by traveling through your insulation and then through your roofing materials.
  • Convection. Heat energy traveling via the transfer of air.  Heated air can escape from inside the home into the attic through openings from light fixtures, recessed lights, and bath fans.  Once this heated air reaches the attic it then escapes via conduction through the insulation.

Ice Dam Removal and Prevention

An immediate action you can take to rid your roof of an ice dam is to remove snow from your roof.  Exercising extreme caution, use a snow rake to remove snow.  Don’t try to chip through any existing ice as this can cause damage to your shingles.  For extensive ice damming, it is a good idea to look for roof ice and snow removal services that use steam to remove ice dams.

You may also want to consider the following home improvements to prevent ice dams in the long term:

  • Make your ceiling airtight.  Seal around light fixtures, etc.
  • Increase attic insulation.  Choose an insulation with a high R-value to reduce heat loss by conduction.
  • Improve attic ventilation.  Allowing heated air to escape in a controlled manner will help keep the roof colder which will reduce the melting of the snow.

Experienced Minnesota Ice Dam Company

Let only an experienced Minnesota roofing contractor safely eliminate snow and ice from your roof using proper techniques to help prevent leaks caused by snow build up and ice dams using special shovels and a commercial grade Low Pressure steamer to melt away the ice.

Minnesota roofing company serving the Twin Cites and surrounding areas of; St. Louis Park, Edina, Minnetonka, Bloomington, Plymouth, Excelsior, Wayzata, Eden Prairie, Chanhassen and Chaska.

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