What Are Ice Dams and Why Should a Homeowner Be Concerned If Ice Dams Develop?

As a homeowner, there are various concerns that one needs to be aware of. One such issue is the development of ice dams. Below we will discuss what ice dams are and why as a homeowner, you should be concerned if they develop?

What is an ice dam?

Ice dams form on the roof of a home when snow accumulates and then melts. The melted water flows down the roof until it hits the cold edge of the roof. At that point, the water freezes and creates a dam. The water that backs up behind the ice dam can leak into your home and cause damage.

Why should I be concerned if ice dams develop on my home?

If you have an ice dam, you should be concerned about the potential for water damage to your home. The main water damages to your home can be:

Algae and Fungus

This is the biggest risk for your home when dealing with ice dams. When water backs up behind an ice dam, it can seep in through the roof and cause algae and fungus to grow. This is also a very common problem found in homes that have experienced a recent flooding or major leak of some sort. These spores are deadly, and they will quickly begin to grow and spread if they are not removed immediately. Not only is this a health hazard, but it can also cause expensive damage to your home as the spores eat away at the materials in your home.

Wall damage

If water begins to back up behind an ice dam, it can begin to seep in through the walls of your home. This results in wet insulation and wood rot within the walls. The water can also eventually begin to drip down from higher parts of the wall and damage flooring materials and drywall ceilings.

Dampness / Mold

When water starts seeping into a home behind an ice dam, it can lead to dampness and moisture within the walls. This leads to mold growth and rotting of wood materials in your home.

Rusted Heating / Cooling Systems

When water backs up behind an ice dam, it can lead to rust on metal heating and cooling systems in your home. Not only is this a fire hazard, but it can also be very costly to repair the damage.

Muddy Basements

If you have an ice dam and the water begins to back up, it will often flow down the side of your home and into the basement. This can cause the basement to become muddy and wet. In extreme cases, this can result in the growth of mold and fungus.

Frozen pipes

When water backs up behind an ice dam, if your home is equipped with plumbing, it will likely lead to frozen pipes. Frozen pipes are a huge risk for your home because they can lead to burst pipes which are costly to repair. Bursting frozen pipes will also leave you with a huge mess to clean up.

How can I prevent ice dams from developing in my home?

There are a few things that you can do to help prevent ice dams from developing in your home:

  • If you can access the roof yourself, remove the ice and snow on a regular basis. This will help to prevent the build-up of snow that can lead to the formation of ice dams.

  • Inspect your roof regularly. Look for any evidence of deteriorating roofing materials such as gaps, rust, or loose nails. Any such problems should be addressed immediately. This is especially important if you live in an area where there is a lot of snowfall.

  • Check to see if your roof is adequately insulated. If the edge of your roof is not properly insulated, it will be more likely to freeze and form an ice dam.

  • Make sure that your gutters are clear of any snow or ice. If the gutters are blocked, the melted snow will not be able to flow off of the roof properly and will likely lead to the formation of an ice dam.

  • Keep your home warm. If your home is warm, the snow will melt more slowly and will be less likely to form an ice dam.

  • Remove snow from the edge of your roof regularly. If you can remove the snow from the edge of your roof regularly, it will be less likely to accumulate and form an ice dam.

If you are unable to prevent ice dams from forming in your home, it is important to take action as soon as possible to remove any damage that has been caused. If you notice any signs of mold or fungus, be sure to call a professional immediately to have them removed. Additionally, if you experience any water damage as a result of the ice dams, be sure to contact a restoration company right away to help get your home back to normal.

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