Self Made, LLC - Electrical Contracting Company

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Ice Dams

Posted by Eric Self on February 13, 2014 at 2:55 PM

Snow and ice in the Hudson Valley for many home owners can mean costly ice dams on the roof. These ice dams retain pools of water that can back up under roof shingles and come into the house, through ceilings, behind siding and into windows. While, not every winter brings ice damming, every few winters we see a period of extended cold with heavy snow loads that accumulate on roofs. During the day, solar heat even in the 20's can build up ice dams that prevent melting water from escaping off the roof and into the gutters. Starting in the gutters, the ice begins to build up to the roof soffit and then up onto the roof itself. Once in place, ice dams are very difficult to remove without damage to the house.

In dealing with ice dams, prevention is the best medicine. Roof rakes in the Valley are as common as snow shovels during periods of lingering cold and snow build up. By keeping the snow raked back just a few feet from the gutters, most home owners can accomplish all that is needed to prevent ice dams from starting.

But sometimes, that is not enough to stop the ice. And some sections of the roof cannot be reached. Or no one is available to handle the work. For whatever reason, you need a system to keep the ice from forming.

First of all, this has to be said. Ice dams are primarily caused by heat loss, not the sun. The heat escaping from the house melts snow on the roof, this water runs into the gutters and promptly freezes and slowly backs up. The best solution is to stop your heat loss if at all possible. Two words: spray foam. If you can access the roof and insulate it, you might solve your problem and save energy at the same time. If you like, we can even recommend a good insulator for you.

Having said that, many homeowners have areas that dam up that insulation alone cannot resolve. What then? Then it's time for a gutter de-icing system. Depending on how extensive the installation, these systems can be costly. But they will solve your problem. And replacing sheetrock and dealing with mold isn't cheap either. How they work and what they cost is a subject for another post. Regardless of which solution is best for you, why don't you have us out to look at it. Either way I think we can help you find a solution that will work.

Categories: Gutter De-Icing

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