Ice Dams in Utah: A Winter Roof Danger

Ice damming is a concern for homeowners here in Utah during the cold winter months. Especially after the snow accumulation we received in December followed by extremely cold temperatures. Heat from your home rises into your attic and exits through your roof. The area of your roof that is directly under the attic warms up, while the outer edges remain cold. Snow and ice begin to melt on the warmer parts of your roof, but as the water drips down, it refreezes on the outer edges or above the gutter area or overhang of the home. This is known as an ice dam. Subsequent melting can back up under the shingles causing interior leaks and water damage to interior walls and ceilings. If you have large icicles hanging from your roof, you probably have an ice dam problem, which you will need to address with a two-fold strategy.

First, you need to get rid of the ice dam and minimize the immediate damage. We recommend calling a professional roofing contractor to do this because you don’t want to be climbing on a snow and ice covered roof or using a ladder on slippery ground. It can be really dangerous. Some people attempt to break up the snow and ice and end up causing more damage to shingles and gutters using incorrect tools, not to mention the danger of flying ice chunks! Using chemicals or salts to melt the snow can damage or discolor the roof and leach into the ground damaging plants and greenery.

Secondly, you will need to figure out what the underlying problem is, and take steps to remedy. Ice dams are a common symptom of poor insulation. Here are some steps you can take to make sure you have proper ventilation and drainage:

  • Make sure your gutters are clear of leaves and debris.
  • Check and seal places where warm air could leak from your house to the attic such as vent pipes, exhaust fans, chimneys, attic hatches and light fixtures.
  • Have your roof and attic inspected for proper ventilation and insulation.
  • Look for signs of inadequate ventilation such as rust spots, rusty nails or a mildew smell. These can all be signs that moisture has formed on the inside of your roof.
  • If you have soffit vents in your eaves, make sure they are not blocked and insulation surrounding them is secured so that air can flow easily.
  • Keep snow from accumulating on the lower 3-6 feet of your roof. This can be done by installing snow and ice slides or heating cable along the eaves.

Service Master Restore by AAA offers 24/7 service to aid home owners dealing with water damage due to ice dams in Utah. We take care of cleaning up any water damage with our extraction service and state of the art drying systems. Call us 24/7 at 855-788-2225.


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