You shovel paths and lay down salt to protect yourself and others from slipping and falling on ice. One thing most people are not aware of is protecting yourself from property damage that can be caused by ice dams on the roof. If you notice icicles hanging from your property, you may be headed towards damage to your property.

Ice dams are formed at the edge of the roof and prevent water from draining off. When water is not able to drain properly, it can cause leaks. Having interior leaks may result in peeling paint and/or wallpaper, ceiling and wall stains, and health risks associated with mildew and mold.  Ice dams can also create exterior damage such as shingle and gutter damage.

Ice dams form when there is a reaction among the heat from the building, snow on the roof, and outside temperatures. When heat from the house travels to the roof and transfers outwards it causes the snow to melt. The water travels down the roof and freezes causing an ice dam. As water continues to travel down and freeze, the ice dam becomes larger.

There are some ways to prevent ice dams from occurring. First and foremost, make sure your gutters are cleared out regularly. You can also install more insulation above your ceilings. Make sure any cracks or holes in your ceiling are well sealed. Another prevention is to install heating cables on gutters. If icicles do start to form, remove the snow from your roof as soon as possible.

Do not try to chip away at the ice dam with sharp objects. If you can, locate the heat source that is causing the high temperature in your ceiling and remove it. Insulate any recessed lighting in your attic and try to seal any visible light. If ice dams continue to form or have caused damage, be sure to call a professional to help you with repairs and prevention.