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How Do Ice Dams Form?

Posted in Ice dam steaming.

One of the many home exterior services we offer is ice dam steaming. Minnesota winters are notoriously cold, snowy and harsh, so this service is a necessity in this type of climate. We are often asked how ice dams are formed and what people can do to prevent them.

Ice Dam Formation

Ice dams form when the snow from the top of your roof melts and the water that’s created freezes on the bottom part of the roof and in the gutters. Because the top of the roof is warmer, the snow can quickly melt off of it, but when the water hits the eves and gutters, which are much colder, it will refreeze making it impossible to drain properly.

If you don’t get ice dam steaming done as soon as possible after this happens, it can cause your roof and windows to leak. And this doesn’t just mean you’ll have to deal with a leaky roof. It can also lead to mold, insects and other similar problems.

Ice Dam Prevention

So what can you do to prevent ice dams from forming? The best thing to try is to keep your entire roof at the same temperature – above freezing. You can increase the ventilation in your home, add insulation and seal as many air leaks as possible.

You should also make sure your attic hatch or whole-house fan are covered with weatherstrip caps. Make sure all ducts lead outdoors through either the roof or the walls. The ducts should never lead through the soffit.

Also, the ducts should be sealed and insulated. You can do this by spreading fiber-reinforced mastic on the joints of exhaust and HVAC ducts. They should then be covered entirely with R-5 or R-6 foil-laced fiberglass.

Taking these steps can help you avoid ice dam steaming.

Do you need ice dam steaming in Minnesota? Call Total Home Exteriors at 612-388-7795 or get a Free Estimate.

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