If you live in an area where snow and ice fall during the winter months, you may find that ice dams constantly form around the edges of your roof. Because these ice dams can damage your roof, often necessitating repairs in the spring, you may take drastic measures to try to get rid of the dams. However, there are a couple of mistakes you should avoid that will not only make the dams worse but could also result in even more damage to your roof.
1. Keeping Your Attic Warmer Than the Air Outside
After a winter storm rolls through your area and dumps snow and ice on your roof, you may believe that you should turn up the heat in your attic to help melt it as quickly as possible. You may feel that the faster you get rid of the snow and ice, the less likely the ice dams will form.
However, the melting of the snow and ice is exactly what causes ice dams to form. During the day, when the sun is hitting the roof, the snow and ice will melt. However, when the temperatures get colder at night, the water collects and freezes at the bottom edges of your roof, forming the dams.
Since the same thing will happen if you keep your attic warm, try to keep the space the same temperature as the outside air. You may want to discuss having air vents installed so that the exterior air flows through the attic space to keep it cool.
2. Attempting to Knock the Ice Dams Off of Your Roof
When ice dams do form on your roof, your first impulse may be to knock them off any way you can, such as with a broom or shovel. Since the weight of the dams can crack or break shingles, you may believe knocking them off will save the roof from damage.
However, since the ice from the dams is anchored on the shingles, you will only wind up causing more cracking and breaking of the shingles. It is better to leave them and let them melt gradually. If the dams have become extremely large and present a hazard if they were to fall, however, you may want to contact a roofer to see about removing them safely.
While you may not be able to completely avoid the formation of ice dams on your roof, avoiding the above mistakes can help reduce the size of the dams as well as minimize the damage caused to your roof. To learn about other ways to help keep ice dams from forming, such as having vents installed around your attic, speak with a roofing contractor.