With the crazy weather we have been having, this is the perfect time to see how well insulated your home truly is. A common occurrence in this area of New York State is the formation of ice dams on your roof. Noticing an ice dam is a sure tell sign that something is wrong with either the ventilation or insulation of your home.
An Ice Dam is a mound of ice that forms along the edge of a roof under particular winter conditions. An ice dam can damage your roof, gutters, downspouts, and the inside of your home. An ice dam can form when the roof over your attic or crawl space gets warm enough to melt the underside of the layer of snow on the roof. The water trickles down between the layer of snow and the shingles until it reaches the eave or edge of the roof, which stays cold because it extends beyond the side of the house. There, the water freezes, gradually growing into a mound of ice.
As an ice dam grows, melted water backs up behind it and can seep underneath your shingles. If this continues, it can eventually drip into the insulation and down into the exterior walls or ceilings where it will ruin your paint and drywall. A more dangerous situation would be if the ice dam itself breaks free taking with it shingles, gutters, and downspouts as well as damaging anything the ice lands on: bushes, cars, windowsills, pets, or even people. It can also create havoc on your roof if it remains wet long enough creating mildew and eventually rot.
How you handle an ice dam on your roof can determine the level of repair work needed in the long run. Calling in a contractor to have a look at the problem before it gets out of hand is your best bet. Prevention is key, but if the situation already exists, don't wait around for the problem to get worse. Tackle the small problems before they become huge renovations.