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Syracuse Roofing: Article About Ice Dams

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Although icicles forming during the wintertime look charming, Syracuse roofing professionals realize that they signify a serious and potentially expensive problem. Behind the ridge of ice on the edge of the roof is a collection of melted water. As that water accumulates, it eventually work its way underneath the shingles, penetrate the decking material and finds its way into the home. The result is damage to the ceilings, walls and floors.

Another problem caused by ice dams is that their weight may cause gutters to pull away from the house. At times, they may bring fascia boards down with them. Ice dams can lead to cracks in the plaster, peeling paint, wet carpets and cause wooden floors to buckle. For this reason, it is imperative that homeowners take steps to prevent ice dams from forming.

In order to prevent ice dams from forming, a homeowner should understand how and why they form. As the heat inside of a home rises, it accumulates in the peak of the attic, causing the snow along the top of the roof to melt. This melted snow travels down the roof until it reaches the eaves, which are a lot colder. There, it refreezes and creates a ridge of ice on the eaves and in the gutters. When the process is repeated, the ridge of ice continues to expand, traveling further up the roof.

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This process continues until the snow that melts is so high up on the roof that the temperature of the roof prevents it from freezing. It forms a puddle of water that sits on top of the ridge of ice that will eventually work its way into the home.

Ice dams can be prevented by controlling the temperature in the attic. The primary goal is to prevent heat from accumulating in the attic in the first place, thereby preventing snow melt. This is done by making sure that the attic has proper insulation and ventilation. The goal is to keep the attic space at the same temperature as the outdoors.

Steps to prevent ice dams include installing soffit, gable and ridge vents to expel heat. A properly ventilated attic will have the same number of intake vents as it does exhaust vents.

Another step homeowners can take is to minimize snow accumulation on the roof. They can do this by using a snow rake or electric heating cables. Roofing professionals can be called to assist with removing ice dams that have already formed. They will remove the ice dams and any residual snow by using steam as opposed to using hammers, chisels or salt.

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