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.
These scenarios may prevent melted snow from dropping to the earth from the roof. It instead freezes along the eaves, causing ice dams.
When the snow melts and freezes, the accumulating barrier pulls the water back under the roof shingles.
The procedure does not take long to drive a snow melt higher on the roof, beyond the waterproof underlayment. When this occurs, the roof starts leaking water into your house.
The harm might be significant and perhaps hazardous.
How To Determine Whether You Have Water Damage From The Ice Dams
Water 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
The weather has a role in identifying ice dam deterioration.
For example, multiple days of sub-freezing weather might cause apparent evidence of water damage to appear later.
When temperatures rise above freezing, the ice dams begin to melt. This latest thaw sends additional water into the home, compounding the previous damage.
Check your house for water damage indicators regularly until the ice dam issue is rectified.
What To Do If Ice Dam Water Begins To Leak Into The House
Even 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 Damage
Make 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 Company
The 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 Company
Contact 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 Heat
Set 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-holes
If 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 Ceiling
Ice 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 Roof
Inspect 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
Fixing a roof after ice dam removal may be a significant undertaking.
In severe circumstances, damage to ice dams necessitates partial or total roof replacement.
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
If you have any questions concerning your coverage, contact your agent. Inquire about particular water damage coverage, such as interior and exterior leaks caused by ice dams.
You may wish to review your insurance coverage for your home and goods.
7 Effective Ways To Prevent The Formation Of Ice Dams
Ice dams will always be a source of frustration for many homeowners throughout the winter. A little forethought before our next snowstorm can go a long way.
With these seven ice dam avoidance methods, you can reduce the likelihood of damage to your house.
1. Keep Inside Warm Air
Ensure that the attic is as airtight as feasible. Edges surrounding pipe vents, fittings, and electrical outlets should be sealed.
Don’t forget about the spaces surrounding the ceiling rafters and joists.
2. Improvement Of Attic Insulation
Old insulation allows warm air from below to enter the attic.
The warmth rises, melting the snow on the roof. Updating old insulation improves ice dam prevention measures while lowering heating expenses.
3. Clear Vents And Soffits
When these roof devices get clogged with debris, they cannot perform their functions.
Filthy soffits and vents also delay the flow of melting snow off the roof, which leads to ice jams.
4. Clean Downspouts And Gutters
When the roof drainage system fails, the danger of ice dams increases considerably.
Maintain gutters and downspouts clean to manage drainage from snow melting on the roof.
5. Rake The Roof
Snow removal from the roof reduces the cause of ice dams, but proceed cautiously.
Check the condition of your ladder and utilize a suitable roof rake that will not harm shingles or flashing.
6. Do Not Allow Roof Valleys To Clog
As leaves and twigs accumulate in a roof valley, the material slows the flow and contributes to water freezing on the roof’s edge. Check and clean these places regularly.
7. Think About Heat Cables
These devices have the potential to be highly useful in avoiding ice jams. They are also suitable for usage within downspouts.
Install heat wires that are mainly intended for usage on the roof.
Do You Have An Ice Dam Roof Leak? We Are Here To Assist!
Call Bedrock Restoration if water has entered your house due to an ice dam. We provide emergency ice dam repair services. Our expert specialists can remove ice dams, repair roof leaks, and repair interior water damage caused by ice dams swiftly and safely. Other home renovation services we provide include attic insulation, wood rot treatment, and gutter installation.
Call us now for additional information or to set up an appointment. Our professionals are here to assist you!
Frequently Asked Questions About Ice Dam Water Leaks
How much does ice dam water damage repair cost?
The water damage to the interiors and goods determines the cleaning and repair cost. Repairing ice dam water damage may cost anywhere from $1,500 to $5,000, with an average cost of $3,000. This does not include the expense of expert ice dam removal.
Who do I contact if I have ice dam water damage?
Contact a water damage repair firm specializing in ice dam cleaning and restoration. Bedrock Restoration’s employees are industry-certified and have extensive expertise in this field. We can also assist you in filing an insurance water damage claim.
Do ice dams usually cause property damage?
Ice dams cause melting snow to back up beneath the roof and into the walls if not maintained. Water rots internal wall frames and soaks the attic, destroying roof decking and rafters.
How can I securely remove ice jams from my roof?
Let an expert handle the situation. You can clear accumulated snow using a roof rake and push broom, but it’s better to have an ice dam removed by a qualified specialist.
What is the best way to melt ice blockages in my gutters?
Fill the open end of a pair of pantyhose with an ice melter and fasten the open end. Set it up to cross the ice dam and hang over the gutter. This method melts a channel used to drain backed-up water.
When should I hire a professional to remove ice jams from my roof?
Call a roofing specialist if: the ice dam accumulation is substantial; your attempts to remove the ice dams are unsuccessful; water damage inside is expanding fast; or, most critically, you don’t feel secure doing it yourself.