New England Winter 2015: The Land of Ice Dams & Frozen Gutters

It has been a brutal winter filled with snow, ice and frigid temperatures.   Every week there is a new storm threatening more snow and ice. This weather is the perfect combination for the formation of ice dams, frozen gutters and dangerous icicles. It seems like the unofficial word of this winter is- ice dam.  You hear it everywhere you go throughout Rhode Island and Massachusetts.  But, what is an ice dam?

Ice Dams

Ice Dams are caused by the ice buildup on the edge of your roof.   Because of this buildup, the water from the melting snow and ice cannot flow freely off of your home’s roof and into the gutters and downspouts.  With nowhere for the water to go, it begins backing up behind the icy buildup and eventually into your home.

Water stains on your ceiling or walls, a leaking roof or wet insulation are telltale signs that water is seeping into your home.  And, unfortunately, the damage could be costly.  While ice dams cannot be 100% prevented, there are some precautions that you can take to hopefully minimize your home’s risk for an ice dam.

Ice dams can be a sign that your home is under-insulated.  Homes without the proper insulation can have cold spots on their roof, which allow for ice to form rather than flow off of you roof.  According to the Department of Energy, homes in Rhode Island and Massachusetts need a minimum of R-49 due to our climate zone.  However, we have found that insulating to our recommended R-60 aids in better energy savings, especially given the winters we have been having over the past few years.

If your home has an older roof, the old, brittle and cracked shingles could be providing an easy entry point for water to enter your home.  Improper ventilation of the roof can also aid in the formation of these ice dams.  Rhode Island and Massachusetts provide the perfect weather for the constant freezing and thawing and refreezing that really makes the ice dams hard to combat.


Roof Raking

Snow and ice are heavy and the added weight can compromise roofs. By removing the added weight of multiple feet of snow, you can potentially alleviate some of that extra stress on your roof.  The weight of ice and snow can cause roofs to collapse or cave in.  Older, leaky roofs and flat roofs are particularly susceptible to this type of damage.

While roof raking may sound like an easy home improvement project, there are many safety concerns.  Risk of injury due to falling, dangerous icicles and damaging your roof make it a project better suited to a professional with gutter and roofing knowledge.


Frozen Gutters

When the gutters are blocked or clogged, the water from melting snow and ice cannot flow through and begins to pool in your gutters and the edge of your roof.  This can be the beginning of an ice dam formation.  By cleaning your gutters regularly, you can keep them free from debris and allow for the water to flow throughout the gutter system and away from your home.

Looking for a year round solution to keeping your gutters clean?  Try a gutter protection system, like Gutter Helmet.  Not only does Gutter Helmet provide the Never Clean Your Gutters Again! guarantee but it also has a heating cable that can be used during the winter to warm the gutters.  This allows the gutters free of debris and aids in the melting process and minimizes the potential for frozen gutters.

While there is no magical cure for ice dams, Moonworks does provide several products that could help minimize your home’s potential for costly water damage.  Our Dr. Energy Saver home energy audit ensures that your home has the proper levels of insulation.  Our customized energy efficiency suggestions provide you with a road map to upgrading your home’s energy efficiency while making it more comfortable year round.

Our Ice Defense system allows you to solve 2 problems- leaves and ice.  No more cleaning your gutters in the spring and fall and no more worrying about frozen gutters in the winter.  Our self-regulating heating cable allows you the flexibility of only using the heat when needed.

Looking for a short term solution?  Give us a call and we will come out and perform our winter maintenance package which includes roof raking.

For more information, give us a call at 800-975-6666.

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