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Fire & Water - Cleanup & Restoration

Winter came early! Ice dams are coming!

12/8/2018 (Permalink)

Ice dam

Winter sure showed up early here in the northeast! We've had snow since October!

This is a season to be extra vigilant when it comes to ice dams.

Ice dams occur after a heavy snowfall when warm air in the attic causes the roof to warm and the snow to melt. Water running down the roof refreezes when it reaches the colder roof edge, forming a mound of ice. The ice traps meltwater, which can seep back up under shingles and drip through the roof into your house, causing wet and stained ceilings and walls, and peeling paint and rot.

The easiest way to prevent ice dams is by keeping your roof cold.This means never letting your roof temperature exceed 32 degrees. At 32 degrees,snow starts melting.


Most homes heat loss is through the attic and air leaks caused by unblocked walls, gaps in drywall, and cracks around light fixtures, plumbing pipes, chimneys. Leaks can be very difficult to take care of because that requires that you roll back or rake your insulation back to find and block leaks.Typically using a foam or another method of caulking.

Insulation in your attic is imperative. You will want to start by making sure to measure your insulation. Building codes require about 12 to 14 in. of fiberglass or cellulose.
Add more if you have less than 8 in. and have had ice dam problems in the past.

Blown-in cellulose and fiberglass are usually better than hand-placed batts, because they fill more tightly around rafters, joists and other obstructions, leaving fewer gaps.

Attic ventilation is important for keeping your attic cold.Keep the roof cold to minimize ice dams. Upgrade attic insulation to about R-40, plug up air leaks to the attic and improve attic ventilation.

A cold roof isn’t always a perfect solution. During winters with heavy snowfall, you may get ice dams anyway. Or ice dams may consistently form at the foot of roof valleys (the junction where two roofs meet at a right angle), because they fill with windblown snow. And some sections of the roof may be impossible to keep cold. That’s when you have to call on secondary strategies to prevent ice dam damage.

Rake the snow off your roof after a heavy snowfall.


Flash around chimney.

Bridge the gap between chimney and house framing with L-shaped steel flashing held in place with unbroken beads of a fire-stop sealant. Using canned spray foam or insulation isn't fire safe.

Sometimes despite all of your efforts, ice dams occur and with them water damage to your home.

SERVPRO of Lebanon/Hanover/Littleton has experienced technicians ready to help if you suffer water damage to your home. No disaster is too big or small!

Call SERVPRO of Lebanon/Hanover/Littleton today at 603-298-6942.

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