Are Ice Dams Dangerous for Your Chimney?

What are Ice Dams? 

Connecticut gets 37 inches of snow on average every year. So if you’re a homeowner in Connecticut, you must be aware of the troubles snow brings to your household every year. Ice dams are one of the problems that result from heavy snowfall.

When the ice buildup on the roof of your house melts a little, the water runs down to the sloping eaves and gutters and refreezes there overnight. The term that experts coined for that is ice dams. When the water freezes again, it prevents melted water from overflowing, causing a backup of water. Hence, the term “dam”.  

What Causes Them?

When heat from the attic or the ceiling travels through the roof, the buildup of snow above will melt as the temperate on the roof drops down. As it melts and runs down the slope, it’ll refreeze because the temperature outside is above freezing. 

Heat will keep melting the snow, but as soon as that water hits a surface with freezing temperature, it’ll freeze back. The water behind the ice dam will stay liquid because of the heat loss from the roof. 

The primary heat source is inside the house, which causes different temperatures throughout the same roof. In some cases, sun rays can be the reason the snow melts easily. But that’s just a rare occurrence.  

What are the Dangers of Ice Dams?

Ice dams are potentially dangerous because:

  1. They can loosen the shingles on your roof. The shingles will be affected by the standing water. They’ll eventually break or come loose. Giving way for water to seep through them.
  2. They will cause water leakage issues. The stagnant water will eventually leak through the cracks and crevices of your roof and into your house. If you notice discoloration or stain along the walls and ceiling, it’s because your roof is leaking. 
  3. They’ll cause the paint around your roof to start peeling. You’ll notice the wood is warping, and the sagging ceiling will give an ugly outlook. There’ll be staining around the edges of your ceiling and minor discoloration because of the standing water. 
  4. The pooling water will let mold and mildew grow inside the cracks of your chimney. The growth of bacteria is not only harmful to your health, but it’ll affect the structure of your house. The bacteria will eat away the wood, and you won’t even notice it before the damage becomes a bigger issue. 

How to Check if Your House has Ice Dams?

The formation of ice dams varies from roof to roof. It differs according to the design and slope of your roof. 

One of the ways to observe whether there are ice dams on your roof is to visually inspect your roof’s gutters. If the icicles are confined to that, then there are probably no ice dams. 

The other way is to observe your ceiling and attack. If you notice discoloration or staining around the edges, that’s because there’s pooling water on your roof. You can check the attic as well for further confirmation. If the water has seeped down the insulation of your roof and into your house, there are probably ice dams present above. 

How Can You Prevent Ice Dams?

Even though you can’t guarantee its prevention, you can still take some preventative measures to avoid this troubling situation. 

Before the winter season, thoroughly clean your roof. Make sure that you get rid of all the dirt, debris, leaves, and tree twigs. If it’s not properly cleaned, it’ll become a problem for the running water. It won’t have an appropriate path to flow and will get stuck. The gutters will cease to work. 

Another thing you can do during winters is to find ways to keep the snow off your roof. Minimum snow on your roof will ensure less probability of the existence of ice dams. You can use devices from the market to reduce the heavy load. Or better yet, hire a professional chimney sweep to help you out. 

Hire Professional Chimney Sweeps in Farmington, CT!

The certified team of chimney sweeps at Creative Masonry & Chimney will help you with all your roof and chimney needs. They offer chimney repair, chimney rebuilding, and chimney repointing services, along with waterproofing your roof. Homeowners in Farmington, CT, and surrounding areas should contact them today for a free consultation.