Ice Dams in New England
Like the holidays, it’s never too early to prepare for winter! Did you know that winter starts on December 21st this year? It doesn’t feel that way and then all of a sudden it’s winter in Massachusetts! We here at Service Team of Professionals (STOP) Metrowest not only want to help you start preparing for winter, we also want to help you reduce your chances of getting water damage in the winter and in spring. So, how do we prepare our homes for the upcoming winter? Let’s focus on the formation of ice dams and how they are a danger to both you and your home.
Did you know your roof can melt snow during winter? It’s true! When your home warms up, heat travels up and into the attic/crawlspace and begins warming the roof. As the roof warms, snow melts and slides down to the eaves and gutters where it refreezes. As water continuously melts and refreezes in one spot, it forms an ice dam. Ice dams — composed of water, ice, and snow — can cause water damage, roof damage, and even injuries over time if left untreated.
Water Damage occurs when the ice dam touching the warm section of the roof melts. However, instead of the water traveling down and off of the roof, it stays trapped where it melted due to the rest of the ice dam surrounding it. When this occurs, water seeps into the attic/crawlspace and causes water damage – if left untreated for too long, it can also cause mold damage.
If water is seeping into the attic/crawlspace, keep the area dry as much as possible. Pointing a fan at the affected area may help keep the area dry. During this time, reach out to local professionals like Service Team of Professionals based in Framingham MA. Not only will they dry and treat the affected area, they will also reinforce it so it is less likely to happen in the future.
Roof Damage occurs around your eaves and gutters where ice dams form. As the ice dam becomes bigger, the edge of your roof and eaves struggle and eventually collapse due to the weight of the ice dam. When this occurs, contact your local professionals right away. As you prepare for winter, have your roof inspected by professionals like United Home Experts based in Ashland MA. They’ll make sure the design and structure of your roof can withstand the next winter.
Injuries can occur anytime that the ice dam is on your roof. During warmer months as the ice and snow slowly melt, the entire ice dam may detach and slide all at once of your roof. If someone were to be standing under it, they may sustain injuries depending on the height of the roof and if the dam was mostly comprised of snow. For a precaution, be cautious of walking under your roof during the winter and spring. You never know when ice and snow from your roof can fall on top of you.
Now that we’ve seen what an ice dam is capable of, let’s learn how we can safely get rid of them!
Tips for Removing Ice Dams
- Calling trained professionals is the best choice to safely remove your ice dams.
- Standing on a ladder, use a mallet or even a ice pick to chip away at the ice starting from the edge of the roof and working your way up. You are not trying to remove all of the ice, just creating a path for water and slush to slide off the roof rather than refreeze. It should be noted that this is dangerous due to being on a ladder in the middle of winter while working with ice.
- Warm water can get rid of ice dams. However, make sure you have a lot of it so that the warm water doesn’t freeze and become part of the ice dam.
Winter is a time of hot chocolate, snuggles, and making snow people — not for worrying about whether or not your home will sustain damage. Take these last few months to get ready for winter by contacting your local roofing professionals and learning how you can prepare you and your home for these next few, cold months.
STOP Metrowest is an IICRC Certified Firm – safe, quality, and compassionate service is our priority! We provide rapid water damage assessments and remediation in Framingham MA or other Metrowest MA communities like Sudbury MA, Holliston MA, and Westborough MA. Call STOP MetroWest at 508-841-3082.
For more information, visit our webpage at STOP Metrowest.