Ice Dam Solutions – Do you need one?

If you’ve had any experience with ice dams, you know they mean trouble. The challenge is figuring out where and when you should consider and ice dam solution to protect your house. Our advice -Think of it like insurance – the solution you pick should prevent ice dams from occurring. This article reviews weather patterns and house features that indicate you need to install one of the many ice dam solutions available today.

Weather Conditions that Require Ice Dam Solutions

We live in New England, so we know it’s going to snow each winter. The amount of snow we get each year varies, so the ice dam solutions designed by New England Ice Solutions targets the average snow fall for your location. An ice dam solution system is designed to be preventive, meaning the system has to be operational and delivering heat to melt the snow as it falls. Which will in turn prevent melting snow from freezing along roof edges, valleys, gutters and anywhere you’ve seen problems.

So, the answer to when a preventive solution is needed, is when it’s snowing. But that’s too simple, especially when there’s a light dusting and the snow will melt within twenty-four hours. The most common weather patterns where you want to feel protected with one of the many ice dam solutions on the market, include:

  • Heavy snowfalls or blizzards can dump a substantial amount of snow on your roof, that can take days, weeks and sometimes months to melt.

Note: When heavy amounts of snow land on your roof over a short period of time, your New England Ice Solutions system may not keep up with the snow for a while, but it will normalize in a few days, based on temperatures and wind conditions.

  • Multiple, smaller snowfalls where the accumulation of snow builds up over time because the temperature never gets warm enough for the snow to melt entirely.
  • Windy conditions can cause more snow to pile up in areas of the roof that are susceptible to ice dams. It’s the same thing you experience when you have to shovel your driveway frequently as the wind blows snow back where you’ve already cleaned.

House Features that Need Ice Dam Solutions

  • Exhaust vents that aren’t properly sealed,will allow warm air to reach the snow on the roof. It’s this warm air that causes the bottom layers of snow to melt and run off the roof following gravity. Depending on the temperature, this water freezes when it hits parts of the roof that are below freezing, causing the ice dams we want to prevent.  
  • Skylights are another popular roof feature that often loses enough heat to cause ice dams. They’re more challenging because you can seal the sides of the skylight but you’re not going to want to seal the glass.
  • Roof valleys are another problem area on roofs because there are more structural seams where conditioned (warm) air can escape to the roof. That’s why we have a special valley panel to address this problem.
  • Dormers introduce two different problems that have the potential to cause ice dams. They have structural seams like roof valleys. They also have overhead roofing that rarely have gutters, so they can create areas of the roof with more melting snow that can form ice dams.

Alternatives to Preventing Ice Dams

The ideal solution to avoid ice dams is to create a roof where no (NO) heat escapes from the conditioned space underneath. That’s what we call preventing ice dams at the source.

In New England we have lots of older homes and this simply isn’t practical. That’s why we recommend you consider an installed ice dam solution for your home. Give us a call today to discuss the right solution for your needs. Call: (877)-705-1356