How to Prevent Ice Dams in Minnesota
Winters in Minnesota can be a magical time. As a blanket of fresh snow covers the ground, children break out their gloves, hats, and sleds, and families of snow people pop up all over the Twin Cities.
But a winter wonderland isn’t the only thing the cold weather brings. If you look up at your roof and see icicles dangling from the edge, you’ve probably got ice dams on your roof, and the damage they cause to your home is anything but magical. Fortunately, with a little strategic planning, you can make ice dams a thing of the past.
In this post, our exterior remodeling contractors are covering everything you need to know to prevent ice dams from forming on your roof. To learn more about ice dam prevention and water damage repair services, give our contractors a call.
The Key to Ice Dam Prevention
To keep ice dams from forming on your roof, you need to start by understanding how they form. When a well-insulated roof is covered with snow, that snow will remain there until the weather is warm enough for all of it to melt away. As it runs off of your roof, it’s into your gutter system where it’s carried safely away from your home and out into your yard.
However, if your attic is poorly insulated, the heat from your home will cause the snow to melt while the ambient temperature is still bitterly cold. As soon as that snow reaches the cold edge of your roof, it will begin to refreeze there, creating a natural ice dam.
After an ice dam begins to form on the edge of your roof, the water is blocked from running into your gutters, instead backing up back onto your roof. From there, it will leak into any points of weakness in your roofing materials. Once that water gets underneath your roofing shingles, it can end up freezing as the temperature drops, pulling your shingles up in the process. All of this can create a type of cumulative roof damage that will only get worse over time.
Once the ice gets into your home, it will lead to a wide range of problems, including:
- Attic insulation damage
- Ceiling water damage
- Mold growth
- Drywall damage
- And more
Steps for Preventing Ice Dams
To keep ice dams from forming on your roof, you’ll need to insulate your home, make sure your attic is properly ventilated, and make sure your roof is completely watertight. Together, these three components add up to a well-protected home.
Insulating Your Attic
High-performance attic insulation is one of the most integral components of a good ice dam prevention strategy. With a well-insulated roof, you’ll prevent heat from escaping through the top of your house, which means you won’t have to worry about snow melting and forming ice dams.
One of the most common mistakes homeowners make is assuming your old attic insulation is just as effective as it used to be. Your attic insulation contractors can evaluate the condition of your attic insulation and recommend an upgrade that will keep the heat in and the cold air out.
With high-performance attic insulation upgrades, you’ll also enjoy a more comfortable home and a reduction in your heating bills each month.
Your attic should also be completely airtight to prevent any air from getting in or out. Have your roofing contractor seal openings around your vents, wiring, windows, and any pipes in your attic.
Ventilating Your Roof
Since warm air from your home will always rise thanks to convection, you need good attic ventilation. When your attic is poorly ventilated, heat stays trapped inside and then leaves your roof through conduction rather than escaping through a well-planned ventilation system.
A combination of a good attic fan and vents is the key to good attic ventilation. Talk to your roof repair contractor to learn more.
Maintaining Your Roof
During the fall and winter months, trees tend to shed a lot of debris, and autumn winds can add to the problem. If you notice debris collecting on your roof, use a roof rake to clear it away. This reduces the opportunities for ice dams to form.
Additionally, keep your gutters clear of debris, investing in gutter guards if possible. Once snow starts to build up on your roof, you can use your snow rake to clear it off as it forms.
Additionally, next time you invest in roof replacement services, make sure your roofer installs a waterproof underlayment. This creates a watertight barrier that can protect your home from future ice dams.
Avoid Common Pitfalls
Although it can be tempting to chip away at ice dams that form in your frozen gutters, resist the urge to do so as this can damage your gutters, siding, and roof. Never take a hammer, rake, or shovel to ice dams.
You should also steer clear of ice melt as these can also cause damage to your gutter canals.
Your best bet is to keep your gutters clean and wait for them to clear naturally once the next warm front rolls in.
Schedule Minnesota Attic Insulation Upgrades
Now that winter is right around the corner, don’t take a chance on roof damage from ice dams this year. If you’re worried about water leaks from ice dams, call Powers Premier Contracting at 612-710-7283 or contact us online to get your free estimate and find out what we can do for your home.