How to Prevent Ice Dams and What To Do When You Have Them


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 Ice Dams are an annoying problem that most of us have faced at one time or another. After all we do live in Manitoba, where the weather is always changing!
Ice dams can even happen on new houses so we’ve put together this post to help you know the causes, signs, and what you can do to prevent ice dams and deal with them if they’re starting to form.

ice-dams cartoon

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The cold season brings snow-packed roofs across the country and with snow melt can come damaging ice dams. Without a properly insulated attics, however, homeowners could find themselves with an ice dam upstairs. Heat from the attic melts snow on the roofs, and the melted water pools and gets in the house. Here is how to avoid these frosty formations, and what you should do if they do appear on your roof.

When snow it is thick, ice dams start to form where a pool of water is being held by ice on top of your roof. This can be very dangerous because the weight of the water may cause the roof to collapse; also, when water starts to overflow it can bring more damages to other parts of the roof and at time into your house causing ceiling damage.
Here are useful tips on how ice dams can be prevented.

ctp ice dams

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The main reason of ice dam formation is the accumulation of snow in the edges of the roof and in the eavestroughs. This prevents the flow of melted ice or rain into the downspout. With a thick layer of ice on the edges, water will accumulate in the middle portion of the roof.
An immediate solution to this problem is to manually rake the excess ice off the roof. Snow removal can be dangerous but it is an effective method. However, this is just temporary as ice may accumulate again the next day when snow continues to fall.

ice dam snow raking

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Note: You can get roof rakes from most home store such has Costco, Canadian Tire or Home Depot. These rakes are made to be used from the ground making it safer and easier to rake often.


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Experienced roof professionals and builders will never get tired of telling homeowners the importance of proper insulation in the attics and on the ceilings of the roof.
If there is no proper insulation, the heat inside the house can melt the ice on parts of the roof but the melted ice will freeze again on the edges and it can cause dams to form. With thick insulation, this will not occur.

Proper attic ventilation, from the eves, is also critical to control and reduce attic humidity that may be present.

*Photos are to show general ideas and examples of common problems. House construction in these image aren’t exact to real construction or HLB work

Info found here, and here.

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