Wisconsin’s climate can be tricky to navigate in the winter, where snowfalls and deep thaws happen weekly. And changes in climate can cause unexpected problems, such as when ice dams form on the roof.

Learn what an ice dam is, how it starts, and how to get rid of it to prevent damage to your home.

What Are Ice Dams? How Do They Happen?

Ice dams are masses of ice that form on your roof and in your gutters. An ice dam forms when water from melting snow freezes. It then forms a mass of ice that starts out small but can grow immensely when the temperature fluctuates.

According to research from the University of Minnesota, ice dams form mainly due to heat loss from your house or exhaust systems. And although they’re common, ice dams should never be taken lightly, as they can cause tremendous damage to your gutters and roof.

How Do Ice Dams Affect My Home?

When left untreated, an ice dam can really do a number on your home’s roof and drainage system. For instance:

  • According to a blog post from Nationwide Insurance, ice dams can cause your roof shingles to lift up, allowing water to seep into your home.
  • They can also affect your home’s drainage system since the mass of ice clogs your gutters, which can lead to flooding in and around your home.

While you can’t control the weather, there are both short- and long-term methods to prevent ice dams from forming.

Solving and Preventing Ice Dams on Your Roof

Sometimes a problem with your roof can catch you off guard. Here are a few short-term solutions to fixing an ice dam:

  1. Since heat from your home may be the most likely cause of ice dam formations, you can flip the script by cooling your roof down. According to a post from This Old House, you can slow down the rate that snow melts by blowing cold air through the roof. If there is water coming out of cracks in your roof, you can blow cold air into any crack or opening to freeze leaking water.
  2. Applying calcium chloride on your roof will melt snow and ice on your roof without any additional damage.

There are also a few preventative measures you can take to reduce the chance of ice dams forming. These include:

  1. Regularly removing snow from your roof. Rakes are exceptionally helpful for this.
  2. Performing maintenance on your gutter system before winter arrives. Regular maintenance on your gutters can be beneficial in preventing other gutter problems too.
  3. Calling on a roofing and gutters expert to perform an inspection. Pros have a lot of experience, so they can often help you spot a problem before it even happens. By having a roofing professional assess your roof and drainage system, they can better advise you on how you can prevent damage from snow and ice.

Get More Information

Here in Wisconsin, ice dams can cause considerable damage to your roof and drainage system. If you are a homeowner and have concerns about your roof’s condition, it may be best to contact a professional.

For expert advise on your roof, call Over the Top Roofing to schedule an appointment. We service the greater Milwaukee area and Menomonee Falls.