What are Ice Dams?

By November 15, 2022 No Comments

As icy and snowy weather has already struck the Midwest, you may start seeing homes in your neighborhood with icicles hanging from the roof. But why do some houses have them, while others don’t? The answer – ice dams.

What causes ice dams?

Ice dams are caused by poorly-insulated attics and inadequately ventilated roofs. Hot air from your home becomes trapped inside of your attic which heats up your roof, causing the snow on top to melt. This melted snow runs down your roof until it reaches a cold spot, like an eave. When the melted snow hits this cold spot, it refreezes.

As the snow continues to melt, the cycle continues. The dam grows and ice begins to push the shingles on your roof backward. This allows melted snow to get beneath your shingles and through your roof, causing major leaks and damage to your home. In addition, the weight from the icicles that form puts excessive pressure on your home’s gutters, which can cause damage as well.

How Ice Dams Form

How do I get rid of existing ice dams?

Check out this article.

How do I prevent ice dams?


The first step to preventing ice dams is to ensure that your attic is properly insulated. Properly insulated attics keep the heat inside your home, and out of your attic. Older homes are more prone to ice dams because over time, insulation deteriorates and becomes less effective. Upgrading the insulation in your attic can help to reduce the risk of ice build-up, while also decreasing your energy bills.


It is also essential that your roof is properly ventilated. In the winter, vented roofs allow for any excess heat trapped inside your attic to escape. This keeps the temperature of your attic cool, preventing ice from building up. In the summer, vents allow excess heat and moisture to be released, preventing mold.

If you have noticed icicles forming year after year, there is still time to address the underlying issue before the big wave of winter weather conditions hit. Contact us today to schedule a free onsite inspection with one of our qualified estimators!

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