Ice dams on your roof in the winter are not just a nuisance. Once ice develops on your roof’s eaves, serious damage can occur to the home. In addition, ice dams can be a sign of significant problems within your attic.
Southwest Illinois is particularly vulnerable to ice dams. Due to our position bordering the subtropical climate in the U.S., we generally experience milder winter conditions than farther north, in Chicago, for example. However, it’s common for a cold front to move quickly through the area, causing temperatures to drop drastically.
When snow or ice accumulates on your roof, if heat is escaping your attic, precipitation on your roof will begin to melt, moving toward your roof’s eaves. Once the melted snow and ice drain toward the lower part of the roof, where there’s less heat loss from your attic, it will freeze again. And that’s when an ice dam forms.
Ice dams can cause damage to your home, so it’s important that, as a homeowner, you assess the condition of your attic if you’ve ever experienced an ice dam in the past — and to prevent future ice dams.
Here’s what you should look for:
- If your home has had ice dams in the past, have a professional assess your roof, because ice dams can cause moisture to seep back into the attic, and under shingles, damaging the roof, and possibly other areas in your home.
- Check the attic floor and hatch for air leaks, and seal those that you find to stop heated air in the house from rising into the attic.
- Evaluate the attic’s insulation, and add additional insulation if necessary.
- Assess the attic’s ventilation. A good ventilation system will help to circulate hot air out and maintain consistent temperatures, ensuring a healthy, durable space.
- Keep the gutters clean.
Take the time to assess the condition of your attic, and call the experts at Ernst Heating & Cooling, serving homeowners in the Edwardsville area, if you find problems. Implementing measures to avoid ice dams is worthwhile, and will ensure a healthy attic space and home.
Our goal is to help educate our customers about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about ice dams and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.