Ice Dams: Causes and Prevent

Ice dams are ridges of ice that form at the edge of a roof, forcing melted snow under the shingles where it freezes and thaws, causing damage.1 Once an ice dam develops, the interior of your home – the walls, floor and ceiling – is at risk. It can also cause exterior damage to gutters, roofs and siding due to their weight and size.

What causes an ice dam?

  1. Escaped heat from your home warms the roof
  2. Snow on your roof melts and slides into drains, gutters or downspouts
  3. Clogged drains, gutters or downspouts trap melted snow on the roof
  4. The melted snow refreezes
  5. A ridge of ice forms on the edge of the roof

The ice dam prevents additional melted snow from running off the roof, trapping water under the shingles and potentially causing water damage inside.

If your home has an ice dam, hire an insured professional to remove it.

How can I prevent ice dams?

Inside and out, there are steps you can take to help stop ice dams from developing on your roof.

  1. Keep your attic well ventilated
  2. Insulate your attic floors
  3. Keep your gutters and drains clear of debris
  4. If you can do so safely, use a snow rake to remove accumulated snow from your roof1
  5. Have self-regulating heating cables professionally installed on your roof

If you can prevent ice dams from forming in the first place, you save yourself the headache of having to remove them later.

Snowfall can be hard on your home, especially if you’re not prepared for the inevitable meltdown. This infographic explains what ice dams are and how you can protect your home from the damage they create.

Find out which types of optional home insurance you should consider to protect your home from water damage.