If you live in Colorado, you know what an ice dam looks like. Colorado’s awkward winters seem to breed them. Everywhere you look, you see, hear, and avoid their fall during the blistery months from October to as late May. Ice dams are a dangerous component that roofs seem to love during the cold months, especially in areas prone to rain, sleet, and snow. Let’s learn more about ice dams and how to prevent them in order to protect yourself and your property.
More About Ice Dams
Ice dams are a rapid phenomenon that occurs during rain, sleet, and snow storms. Ice dams form when the snow melts and begins dripping off the roof. The snow and ice can melt because the roof’s insulation is holding heat, despite the freezing temperatures outside. Once the water runs off the roof and begins to fall to the ground, the cold freezes it in places creating one long stick that’s called an ice dam. An ice dam can grow in size, becoming so large they become deadly if not dealt with.
The best way to deal with ice dams is before they start forming, especially when you have a multi-story home or building where you can’t safely break the dam while it’s still small. If you want to prevent ice dams, you can invest in a sealed attic or roof space, along with well-insulating the space between your attic and roof is key. These are items that are done when the home is built, but they can often be added after a house is built depending on the space.
Electric heating elements, shoveling, chipping, or applying an ice shield coating to your roof all can prevent and deal with ice dams before, during, and after they’ve begun to grow. When breaking an ice dam to deal with it, you want to stand as far away from it as possible. Do not ever stand below the ice dam, especially if they’ve grown quite large. Ice dams can cause injury and death if hit in the head with one, so cautious is necessary to prevent this from happening to you or bystanders.