How to Prevent an Ice Dam

It’s been a mild, almost temperate winter so far in the Pacific Northwest.  North Vancouver has seen only one or two days of snow, and February is just around the corner.

The cold days aren’t over though. The weather in Vancouver has always been temperamental, and a fresh coat of snow is never out of the question. Days after a fresh layer of snow has been dumped on the city, we will start getting questions about how to prevent ice dams from forming on the roof.

This is a great question, but a poor time to ask the question. Ice dams are easy to prevent, but you need to be prepared. In case the weatherman should predict a new cold snap, we thought it best to give you some tips on preventing ice dams ahead of time.

 How Ice Dams Form

If we want to stop something from happening, we should first know how it begins.  Ice dams begin the day it first snows.  Snow will build and collect on your roof, the way you would expect on a snowy day. If the heat from your house is allowed to reach the rafters, your roof will be warmer than the outdoor temperatures.

The snow will melt above your house, and run down to the eaves. This is where the trouble begins.  If the outdoor temperature is still freezing, your eaves will be cold enough to re-freeze the melting snow.  The warmer our roof is allowed to be, the worse the problem will become.

Avoiding the Ice Dam

Since we know that a warm roof is the cause of the problem, the solution is simple enough.  We need to keep the roof of our home cool. There are two easy ways to do this. The first is to insulate the attic of the home as much as we can. Not only will this keep your roof cool, but it will save your home extra money on heating bills. No more heating the attic!

The second way to cool the roof is to make sure your roof has been vented properly to allow cool air to flow through the rafters.  This circulation of cold air will keep your roof closer to outdoor temperatures, and allow for a natural melt.

Staying ahead of these problems can save you headaches (and property damage). If you would like more information, you can call us at the office.


Stay safe!


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