How to Prevent Ice Dams
Inspect your Homes Insulation & Stop Air Leaks
Insufficient insulation and air leaks are the primary reason for the formation of ice dams. The best way to prevent ice dams is to maintain a cold roof. Use sufficient insulation in the attic to keep the inside warm air from getting into the attic and warming the roof. Building codes require 12-14” inches of fiberglass or cellulose insulation in the attic, so homeowners should check the depth of insulation in their home. Ensure that any cut-out areas around pipes, vents and ceiling fixtures are sealed with foam or caulk to prevent air leaks. Maintaining a cool, well-ventilated attic space that will not allow the roof to warm up is also a good way to prevent the formation of ice dams.
Remove the Snow from your Roof
Perhaps the most effective way to prevent the formation of ice dams is to remove any accumulation after each heavy snowfall. If your home has a low-sloped roof, a heavy duty broom can be used to push the snow off your roof. If your house has a steep slope, you might want to use a roof rake instead (which is a scraper designed specifically to remove snow from your rooftop).
Consider Installing a Metal Roof in the Future
While an update like this might not initially be in the home-improvement budget, installing a metal roof on a home in an area prone to heavy snowfall could save you money and hassle in the long term. While ice can still form on a metal roof, the material will not allow water to penetrate into your home, protecting your insulation and ceiling from rot and mold.
Take preventative measures to ensure that your home's infrastructure is protected from ice dams- which will protect the investment you've made in your home, as well as your family's safety, security and peace of mind.