Darn! It’s a dam! How to Prevent Water Damage from an Ice Dam

icicle water damageIt’s a home or business owner’s winter nightmare: rivulets of water trickling down your interior walls, spotting your ceiling and soaking your attic. If you’ve noticed these issues at home or at work but don’t know what causes them, the first place to look is outdoors and up at the lower edge of the roof. See clumps of ice along the eaves and large icicles dangling from your gutters? Then, darn—you probably have a dam. Ice damming is the accumulation of ice at the lower edge of a sloped roof, typically along the gutter. The main ingredient for the formation of an ice dam is snow; the second is heat. We all know that heat rises, and while we’re vigilant about staying toasty indoors, we don’t often think about the effect of heat on the outside of a building. As snow blankets the roof and temperatures fall, heat rises and melts the snow nearest the peak of the roof, causing water to run down and refreeze at the overhangs where temperatures are much cooler. As this cycle of melting and refreezing commences, the ice dam grows, encasing the gutters and eventually blocking water from draining off the roof. The result? Costly damage to ceilings, walls, insulation and the structure of the roof itself. Not only is it dangerous to climb onto your roof in the dead of winter to address this problem, it’s also difficult and oftentimes, futile. At this point, it’s recommended that you hire trained professionals who use special steam equipment to safely remove ice dams without causing further damaging your roof (or yourself). Indoors, you may also need to hire a professional cleaning and restoration team like LDR Construction Services, Inc., who will use the latest water extraction technology to dry out your structure and its contents, plus take important steps to prevent mold. Your best bet, of course, is to take precautions to prevent ice damming in the first place. Here are a few tips:
  • Keep the attic floor well insulated to minimize the amount of heat rising through the attic from within the living space of your home or office.
  • Seal air leaks, including duct air leaks, using mastic sealant or metal tape in your attic to further prevent warm air leakage. Duct tape is not recommended because it is not long lasting.
  • Make sure the attic is adequately ventilated: the colder the attic, the less melting (and refreezing) of snow on the roof.
  • Clear leaves and other debris out of gutters before the first snow.
  • Invest in an extra-long-handled snow rake designed to reach up onto your roof from the ground. Use it early and often after each new snowfall, before the snow becomes too wet and heavy. Always be cautious when standing underneath falling snow.
  • As an added precaution against roof leaks, hire a trusted contractor to evaluate your home or office. Look for one who is an energy specialist. Installing a water repellent membrane under your roof covering may be just one of the professional’s recommendations.
By paying closer attention to energy savings this season, you’ll save more time and energy for the good stuff…snow sledding and ice-skating. Get out there and enjoy! LDR Construction Services, Inc. Cleaning & Restoration has proudly served all of northern Illinois and southern Wisconsin since 1991. LDR specializes in the complete smoke and fire damage restoratoin, storm damage repair, water damage restoration and vandalism damage repair to both commercial and residential properties. Capable of handling any size loss and working with all types of insurance providers, the LDR disaster team is available 24 hours a day, 365 days per year. For more information, visit www.ldr4service.com or call 1-888-874-7066. Image courtesy of Suat Eman / FreeDigitalPhotos.net Free eBook shows how to make a home disaster plan  


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