The Ice Dam Cometh
In Michigan, we do love our winters. Skiing in Montcalm County, snowmobiling In Ionia or just general outdoor trail hiking and biking in Belding or Greenville, it's all a winter wonderland. However, with the beautiful scenery comes a hazard that affects many homes as temperatures fluctuate, Ice Dams!!
At SERVPRO of Ionia and Montcalm Counties we help homeowners deal with the aftermath ice dams and resulting water damage, but we'd rather it was prevented in the first place.
Here are some pointers on ice dams and on how to help avoid them:
1. Shovel or rake the snow from your roof. Note that the whole roof surface should be cleared. Removing snow from the bottom couple of feet near the eaves will not keep ice dams from forming and, in some cases, may make ice dams that then form much more severe.
2. Make sure you have adequate attic insulation. Proper insulation is one of the best allies in ice dam prevention.
3. Make sure that your roof system has good ventilation. Proper ventilation will allow for the movement of air through the attic and rafter spaces. This reduces the amount of warm air that builds up and reduces the melting snow that causes ice dams.
4. Bath fans, plumbing vents, and recessed ceiling lights are some of the biggest culprits that let warm air into the attic. For optimal ice dam prevention, seal and insulate them well.
5. Add heat tape to the lower few feet of roof in areas where ice dams form from year to year. It’s best to address insulation and ventilation first because no amount of heat tape will compensate for the lack of those.
6. Minimize the use of recessed lights in the ceiling below unheated space, such as an attic or a truss cavity. Likewise, avoid turning on recessed lights in exterior soffits. Recessed lights generate a lot of heat, and are seldom insulated or sealed properly. The net result is heat escaping into spaces where it shouldn’t be during the winter.
7. Keep rooms with vaulted ceilings slightly cooler than the rest of the home, especially if these spaces are seldom used.
8. Heat tape, otherwise known as heat cable or roof de-icing cable, is an affordable solution to dealing with ice dams.
Utilize these tips to help prevent ice dams, but in Ionia and Montcalm County if you do get Ice Dams and the resulting damage caused by them, call SERVPRO at (616) 527-5470