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Gutters And Ice Dams: Is There A Relationship Between The Two?

How To Ensure That Your Roofing System Will Not Contribute To Ice Dams On Your Home!

Ice dams are those large, bulky ice formations that sometimes appear along the roof’s edge in snowy weather. They may extend into your gutters, causing the gutters to sag and bend. Many homeowners blame blocked or damaged gutters for their ice dams. But the truth is that the ice dams did not form because of their gutters. A lack of insulation or adequate ventilation in your roof system causes ice dams.

How Ice Dams Form

Ice dams form via a three-step process. Snow near the roof peak melts. The water drizzles down towards the edge of the roof. Then, the water re-freezes on the edge of your roof. This happens again and again, and the ice dams become larger and larger.

How Insulation and Ventilation Contribute

Ice dams form when the peak of your roof is warm enough to melt snow. In a perfect world, your roof peak would not be this warm, and the snow would not melt. However, roof peaks often become overly warm if the attic is not well-insulated, well-ventilated, or both.

A lack of attic insulation makes it easy for heat to travel from the top floor of your home, through the attic, and out through the roof. A lack of ventilation means heat builds up in the attic. The heat has nowhere else to go, so it passes through your roof. 

Heat rises, so the peak of the roof is always the warmest. The edges of the roof are cooler, which is why the ice refreezes there, forming ice dams.

How to Deal With Ice Dams

While you should keep your gutters clear, cleaning your gutters alone will not prevent ice dams. If ice dams are on your home, have a roofer look over your ventilation system. They may need to add more vents for improved airflow.

You may also need to add insulation to your attic. If you have only one layer of fiberglass insulation, adding a second layer can do a lot of good. In the meantime, having snow removed after a big storm can help minimize ice dam formation.

If you’re struggling with ice dams in the Southern New Hampshire or Northern Massachusetts area, contact Adam Vaillancourt Roofing. We’ll come to look over your roof and, if needed, add some more vents to your setup. Our helpful roofers also offer roof snow removal services.