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Preventing Ice Dams

An Ice Dam is a ridge of ice that forms at the edge of a roof and prevents melting snow and water from draining off the roof. 

The water that backs up behind the dam can leak into the home, causing damage to walls, ceilings, insulation and other areas.

Preventing and Dealing with Ice Dams

Here are a few simple steps that can help prevent ice dams and condensation in your attic:

  • Prevent warm, moist air from infiltrating the attic by appropriately insulating your attic’s floor and using a dehumidifier to control water vapor.
  • Seal all openings that would allow water vapor to enter the attic. Avoid designing ceiling mounted fixtures below the attic that create the need for holes in the drywall or plastic ceiling. If this cannot be avoided, seal around all penetrations to make them airtight.
  • Ceiling-mounted light fixtures and ceiling fans have electrical junction boxes mounted flush in the ceiling- these often have a number of holes in them that need sealed.
  • Research shows keeping the attic air temperatures below freezing when the outside air is in the low 20’s can reduce the occurrence of ice dams.
  • Provide good attic ventilation to replace warm air in the attic with cold outside air.

What NOT to Do

While it may be tempting to try a quick-fix and break up the ice dam, don’t get too eager. Not only is it dangerous on your roof, you can cause a lot of damage.