Are Ice Dams Damaging Your Home?

Are Ice Dams Damaging Your Home? 
MISSION, KS -- (Marketwired) -- 03/17/14 --  (Family Features) The
Midwest and Mid-Atlantic have been plagued with above average
snowfall and below average cold temperatures throughout the 2013-2014
winter season. As the meteorological winter's three coldest months of
the year finally come to a close, homeowners may find that the wrath
of this winter has left long-term damage in its wake.  
In regions hit hard this winter, the seemingly harmless icicles
dangling from rooftops may actually signal potential ice dams. An ice
dam is a wall of ice along the edge of the roof that forms when
melting snow continually thaws over warmer portions of the roof and
refreezes along the roof's colder eaves. The melted water that pools
behind the ice dam gets trapped, creating the potential to leak into
the home and cause damage to walls, ceilings, insulation and other
structural areas.  
Residential markets with a history of ice formation now benefit from
the 2006 building codes mandating ice dam protection as part of a new
roofing system installation. However, a large majority of homes in
these areas still have roofs that pre-date the adoption of these
building codes, making them more vulnerable to ice dam formation.  
Tips to avoid home damage
 To avoid increased potential for ice dam
damage on your home, consider following these tips: 
1. Preventive: Proper attic ventilation and insulation.
 The first
line of defense against ice dams is having proper attic ventilation
and insulation. Adhering to Department of Energy (DOE)
recommendations for insulation and the International Residential
Building Code (IRC) for ventilation in attic spaces will help prevent
heat loss from inside the home to the attic which causes temperature
fluctuations that accelerate conditions needed for ice dams to form.
Another helpful preventive measure is to have your gutters and
downspouts cleared of debris each fall before winter strikes. This
helps the water from melting snow drain off your roof and away from
your home.  
2. Protective: Removing snow loads from your roof.
 Homeowners can
also help protect their homes from ice dam formation by removing the
heavy snow load from the roof after each significant snowfall
themselves or by hiring professionals. Using safety precautions and
avoiding unstable surfaces, homeowners can use a roof rake or push
broom to carefully remove the snow from the lower edge of the roof.
Experts recommend pulling snow down the slope of the roof line to
avoid damaging the shingles.  
3. Proactive: Bring in the trusted experts.
 If you suspect ice dams
may have formed, don't wait for water damage to occur before you take
action. Proactively hire a local expert who can evaluate your roof
for damage and determine if any additional shingles or underlayment
is needed for added protection. The national network of Owens
Corning(TM) Roofing Preferred Contractors makes it easy to find a
professional roofing contractor in your area. Simply visit to request estimates from multiple
roofing contractors in your zip code using an online submission form. 
As temperatures start to thaw, don't let winter's wrath linger on
your home. Following these preventive, protective and proactive steps
can help you eliminate the culprits that lead to ice dam formation. 
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