Are Your Gutters Creating Ice Dams? Here’s What You Should Know

Are Your Gutters Creating Ice Dams? Here’s What You Should Know

Ice dams are thick collections of ice that tend to form along the edges and eaves of a roof. They typically form by snow melting, running down the roof and then refreezing at the edges. The snow melt drains down toward the gutters or eaves, and as it freezes, it forms a thick, heavy dam that can prevent additional snow melt from draining.

Gutters are a common location for ice dam formation, particularly if they haven’t been cleared out recently, because the snow melt won’t be able to get into the gutters and flow down through a downspout. It’s in your best interest to avoid ice dam formation, as ice dams can cause roof damage. Here’s a quick overview of what you should know about ice dams and gutters in Oklahoma City.

Avoiding ice dams

Over time, ice dams can start to allow water to seep under the shingles, which can cause them to lift and fall off, and could result in leaks forming in your attic and potentially running down your interior walls. When they become particularly heavy, ice dams can rip off gutters, damage tiles and potentially cause sagging in the roof. When they break off, they are a safety hazard to any person or item below.

The first step in avoiding ice dams is to carefully inspect your roof during the winter and see if you have any ice dams forming, so you know where and when to take action. You might see ice bulging at the edge of your house, or large icicles forming. Any icicles larger than 2.5 inches in diameter are problematic and indicate the likely presence of an ice dam.

The best way to prevent ice dams is to make sure you clean out your gutters before the winter arrives. Get rid of all the leaves, sticks and other debris so melting water can freely flow into and through the gutters without getting blocked by debris buildup.

Installing gutter guards can also be helpful. This will prevent debris from getting into the system, instead allowing the snow melt to flow into the gutters uninhibited by debris that might otherwise get inside.

If you’re planning on replacing your roof, you should also prioritize using an underlayment, which is designed to prevent water damage from ice and snow. This is a good idea if you know you’ve already experienced water damage from snow in the past.

Finally, you should make it a point to better insulate your home and keep your heat inside. Adding insulation to the attic floor will keep heat trapped in your living space. Replacing old, recessed can lights with other fixtures that are more easily covered up can also help prevent air leaks. If you see any holes or cracks, seal them up whenever possible to limit the places where air can escape.

Are your Oklahoma City gutters creating ice dams? For more information about the steps you can take to avoid ice dams and the damage that can result from them, we encourage you to contact L & S Seamless Guttering today.

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