It may cause gutters to collapse and shingles to peel off, but you must also worry about inside damage. When ice dam water spills into your home, you must act quickly. How can you keep melting snow and ice out of your attic and around your windows? How might water damage to floors, ceilings, and walls be minimized? That occurs every winter in residences nationwide, particularly in the Minnesota area. We want you to be prepared before anything bad occurs to you. By reading this advice, learn what to do if ice dam water is seeping into your home.
What Is An Ice Dam?We wouldn’t have ice dams on our roofs if we didn’t need to warm our houses in winter. They begin as thin spots of frozen water on the edge of a roof. The freezing precipitation gathers on the roof during a regular snowstorm. The warmth from the house rises, raising the temperature of the roof’s surface and melting the snow. The internal warmth has little effect on the roof deck above the eaves. Melting snow may freeze when it touches this area of the roof’s edge. The process creates a frozen foundation, which grows and produces an ice dam.
How Do Ice Dams Result In Roof Leaks?We understand that ice dams cause water damage, but how can they produce a roof leak? Let’s take a brief look at the roof building. The majority of roofs are constructed with 1/2- or 3/4-inch plywood sheathing. A waterproof underlayment covers the lower parts of the roof deck. This barrier rises 2 to 3 feet over the roof’s edge. Typically, the underlayment protects your house from rain and snow, but ice dams create a potentially hazardous condition. It begins with thaw and freeze cycles, accumulating ice along roof edges. The following are some instances of how ice dams form:
- Icicles that form on roof edges obstruct melting snow drainage.
- Warm air rises through the attic and melts the snow on the roof.
- Melting snow backs up beneath roof eaves due to clogged gutters.
How To Determine Whether You Have Water Damage From The Ice DamsWater penetrates the home via porous materials and gathers in wall gaps due to backed-up ice dams. It might take many days for the harm to become apparent. Keep an eye out for these indicators of water damage caused by melting ice dams.
- Sagging gutters or eaves caused by ice dams
- Water accumulating on the attic ceilings, beams, and joists
- Water pouring through the attic walls and onto the attic floor, as well as insulation
- Discolored circular patches appear on the ceilings below.
- Interior walls with damp streaks under ice dams
- Moisture buildup around window frames and on window sills
What To Do If Ice Dam Water Begins To Leak Into The HouseEven the finest ice dam prevention measures might fail at times. The leaks cannot be stopped with a shut-off valve or repaired using a plumber’s putty. These eight steps might assist you in dealing with ice dam backups that cause water to leak into your home.
1. Determine The Location Of The Leak And The DamageMake your way to the attic and attempt to determine the location and amount of the water damage. Water moves downhill. Thus, leaks on the roof may be several feet higher than they appear on the attic ceiling. Power Tip: Use a powerful flashlight or headlamp to highlight attic ceiling lines and dark nooks.
2. Contact A Water Restoration CompanyThe damage produced by ice dam water backup within the home is difficult to repair. Soaked walls, damp flooring, soggy ceilings, and leak stains are just a few of the issues you’ll confront. Don’t attempt to handle it on your own. Call in the ice dam water damage experts at Bedrock Restoration—we handle both water damage cleanup/drying and restoration: 612-834-1501 Pro Tip: A skilled water damage repair company should also be able to assist you with filing home insurance claims.
3. [If Applicable] Contact Your Household Insurance CompanyContact your insurance carrier as soon as possible. Give them as much information as possible based on your water damage evaluation. Arrange an inspection with an adjuster, and be sure to get a claims number. Pro Tip: Take photographs of the interiors, significantly impacted sections in the attic, to document the water damage.
4. Attempt To Remove The Ice Dams.If the weather cooperates and you’re comfortable scaling a ladder, ice dam removal may be a do-it-yourself effort. Nonetheless, many local businesses provide this sort of service. Pro Tip: Before climbing the roof, ensure the ladder’s feet, rungs, and spreaders are securely fastened.
5. Turn On The Fans And Lower The HeatSet up fans in impacted areas to speed up the drying process. Strong currents of fresh air should be directed over moist floors, walls, and ceilings. Reduce the thermostat setting to prevent heat accumulation in the attic and delay melting on the roof. Pro Tip: Open closets and cupboards near moist walls and flooring below to increase air circulation.
6. Inspect The Storm Window Weep-holesIf ice dams are forming around windows, ensure the weep holes in the storm window frames are clean. Drill tiny holes between window frames and sill lips to direct leaking water outdoors. Pro Tip: Make weep-hole checks a regular spring and autumn house maintenance component.
7. Key In On The CeilingIce dams may cause water backup into the attic through insulation and ceilings. If you observe water leaking from above light fixtures, act quickly. Be cautious of ceiling bulges as well. Specialists should handle both issues. Pro Tip: Severe ceiling water damage might indicate a probable roof collapse.
8. Continue To Inspect The RoofInspect the roof for possible concerns until the ice dams are removed or melted away. Search for areas where the snow has melted. If you notice shingles, look for leaks in the attic below the region. Pro Tip: Get your home’s roof evaluated by a certified specialist twice a year.
Do Ice Dams Damage Roofs?As the weather improves, the roof’s ice melts, enabling water to flow down. Yet, prolonged freezes and melts cause a dangerous accumulation of ice dams along the eaves. Their size and weight may cause significant issues on the roof, such as:
- Collapsed gutters
- Loose shingles
- Degraded underlayment
- Compromised roof decking
- Damaged flashing
- Structural damage
Are Icicles A Result Of Inadequate Insulation?Icicles, unlike ice dams, do not back up water into the home, although they often indicate attic concerns. Heat loss through the roof is caused by old, matted insulation, resulting in icicles along the eaves. Inadequate attic ventilation may also cause melting and freezing cycles on the roof. As icicles begin to form on the eaves, you know the circumstances are favorable for the formation of ice dams.
How Can You Get Rid Of Ice Dams Fast?Use a rubber mallet to break up ice jams, but avoid harming the roof. Calcium chloride crystals may help to accelerate the process. Yet, the discharge may harm nearby plants and trees. A garden hose may be used as an emergency remedy for ice jams. Use it to melt ice dam channels and discharge backed-up water. When temps are above freezing, this temporary remedy works well. Other ice dam removal techniques to consider may be found by clicking here. Remember that breaking up ice dams on a steep roof may be hazardous. If you have second thoughts about taking the job, remain off the ladder. Call a local company that specializes in ice dam removal.
Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Ice Dam Damage?The expense of eliminating ice dams is not covered by homeowners insurance. On the other hand, water damage caused by leaky ice dams should be covered by your insurance. Water damage to your home’s walls, ceilings, floors, furniture, personal possessions, and objects kept in the attic are all included. Most plans also cover ice and snow damage to roofs. The following external constructions may not be insured for ice dam damage.
- Fencing and gates
- Retaining walls
- Patios and pools
- Supporting foundations
- Unattached sheds or garages