Winter Tips on How to Prevent Ice Dams in Long Island Home

Winter Tips on How to Prevent Ice Dams in Long Island Homes

As winter approaches, it becomes increasingly important for homeowners to learn how to prevent ice dams on roofs. These continuous chunks of ice that form along the eaves of your roof can appear to be harmless.

But during the more temperate parts of the winter day, the melting water from the warmer part of your roof can pool behind the ice which acts as a “dam”. Then the water will navigate under your shingles and through your roof into the soffits, walls, and directly into your home’s ceilings.

At first, your drywall fasteners may display rust spots followed by peeling paint, stains around the doors and windows, and sagging dry walls. The whole while mold and mildew is growing between your walls.

Each year, insurance companies shell out millions of dollars to homeowners to repair damage caused by unattended ice dams. Even with insurance coverage, you can never recover the frustration and time lost from having the repairs done.

While ice dams may be a fact of life in the Long Island area, they can be reduced and even eliminated. Continue reading to learn more about how to prevent ice dams on roofs and what you should if you have one.

How Do Ice Dams Form on Roofs?

Because heat rises, the heat from the inside of your home will usually cause the highest part of your roof to be warmer than the lowest part (eaves near your gutters). Ice dams happen when melting snow from the top of your roof travels down and refreezes at the lower edge of the roof.  

Once this happens, it creates hanging ice formations or ice dams usually close to valleys and  eaves.

If left unattended, the sheer weight of an ice dam can cause your gutters to bend, sag and come off pitch - sometimes even tearing the aluminum apart. Shingle damage, and paint peeling from the exterior of your home are also common side effects.

How to Prevent Ice Dams with Clean Gutters?

Your first line of defense against damaging ice dams are clean gutters. This is the easiest way to prevent water from freezing in your gutters. When you have your gutters cleaned at least twice a year, you’ll help ensure the winter run-off water doesn’t get clogged and re-freeze to form ice dams when the temperature drops.

If you need to have your gutters cleaned more than twice a year, you should consider a Ned Stevens Annual Service Contract and installing gutter guards to reduce the number of cleanings and serve as an extra line of defense against ice dams.  

How to Prevent Ice Dams on Roofs with Ventilation?

The most effective long-term solution to preventing ice dams is to keep heat out of your attic while keeping the roof deck as cold as possible. Proper ventilation and circulation will allow continuous airflow from the underside of the roof eave (the soffit) to the ridge or peak of your roof.

A soffit-and-ridge vent system is the most effective ventilation scheme to keep your roof cool. Unfortunately, gable louvers, roof vents, power vents, and turbines are not as effective.

How to Prevent Ice Dams with Insulation?

Another effective way to prevent ice dams is with proper insulation to prevent heat from escaping. However, special efforts have to be made to mitigate the flow of warmer inside air into your roof or attic area. Even the tiniest hole can allow large amounts of warm air to make its way into your attic.

Many homeowners improve their insulation by air tightening or sealing all potential sources of ceiling leaks with packed cellulose, urethane spray foam, caulking, and weather stripping. Some of the most common sources of warm air leaks include:

  • Plumbing penetrations
  • Wire penetrations
  • Attic hatches
  • Ceiling light fixtures
  • Bathroom exhaust fans
  • Chimneys
  • The intersection of the ceiling and interior partitions

What to Do If You Have an Ice Dam on Your Roof?

If you notice ice dams on your roof, you should never attempt to remove them yourself.  Attempting to chip the ice off with an ice pick or hatchet can result in costly shingle punctures and even more expensive repairs.

The ideal solution is to contact the professionals at Ned Stevens Gutter Cleaning of Long Island.

Our technicians will arrive at your home with the proper equipment to remove ice dams from your roof and help prevent any further damage.

What If My Gutters Are Full of Ice?

If your gutters are full of ice, we can temporarily address the problem by breaking up and removing the ice from your gutters. This will allow the water to properly flow off your roof and away from your home.

In order to accomplish this, we’ll usually dismantle your gutters, so the affected icy areas can be properly removed and allow for better roof draining. During this time, we can discuss replacing your damaged gutters with new custom fit gutters backed by the Ned Stevens Gutter Guarantee.

Contact Ned Stevens of Long Island for Ice Dam Solutions

Since 1965, Ned Stevens Gutter Cleaning of Long Island has been providing ice dam removal solutions.  We have the experience and equipment to provide fast solutions at an affordable price.

Contact Ned Stevens of Long Island today for a free ice dam removal quote.

Erika Cruz

Erika began her career at Ned Stevens in September 2009 after 4 years of managing investment portfolios for banks and credit unions. She graduated with her business degree in Management in May of 2016 while working Full-time at Ned Stevens. With 11 years of gutter expertise, as office manager she is in charge of the day to day operation and is fully dedicated to her staff and customers.