Winter weather in south-central Pennsylvania is unpredictable. One day can bring freezing temperatures and several inches of snowfall. The next day could reveal sunny skies and temperatures in the forties. This type of weather makes ice dams a common issue for south-central Pennsylvania homeowners.
Ice dams can damage your home’s foundation, landscaping, roof, and even your home interior. Ice dam prevention is important in protecting your property and keeping your loved ones safe. Installing high-quality gutters and gutter guards from All Season Gutters in Lemoyne, Pennsylvania, can help protect you from ice dam damage. Read on to learn more about ice dams, ice dam remedies, and the best gutter guards to prevent ice dams.
Ice Dams: What They Are and What Causes Them
Ice dams are chunks of ice on the edge of your roof near your gutters. They stop snowmelt from running off your roof and into your gutters. Instead of allowing gutters to carry that water away, ice dams hold the water back, causing it to accumulate on the roof. This standing water can damage your roof, even causing indoor leaks that affect your ceilings and walls.
As ice dams grow, they get heavier and more dangerous. This strains your gutters until they can no longer support the weight of the ice dam. At this point, whole sections of your gutters can detach from the roof, ripping fascia and soffit down with them. If water freezes beneath your roof’s shingles, a collapsing ice dam can pull them clean off your roof, too.
Ice dams are a real risk to your property. But how do they appear? Here’s a step-by-step breakdown of what causes ice dams to form on your roof:
- Warm roofs: Several factors lead to a roof being warmer than it should be, such as poor attic insulation and improper heat ventilation. This is especially true where your walls meet the roof. These areas are notorious for not having much insulation, causing escaped heat from your living space to warm them up.
- Snowfall: As heavy snowfall accumulates on your roof, it acts as insulation. This traps the heat in your attic, causing your roof to warm up even more. The bottom layer of snow touching your roof will begin melting. Gravity then carries this water toward your gutters.
- Cold eaves: Your roof’s eaves are the sections of roofing that hang past the walls. Because eaves extend beyond the warmth of the attic, they’re several degrees colder than the rest of the roof. The melting snow from the previous step can turn into ice when it reaches the cold eaves.
- Repeat: This process repeats itself until the ice forms into an ice dam. It holds back water on the warm roof, resulting in water damage. Meanwhile, the ice dam gets larger and heavier if you allow the process to continue.
What Does an Ice Dam Look Like?
Ice dams look like thick slabs of ice on the edge of your roof. They should be easy to spot, as you may be wondering why ice is on your roof instead of snow. If you’re unsure if you have an ice dam, compare the top and bottom of your roof. Has all the snow melted at the top, but the bottom still has a buildup of snow? Does it look like something is holding the snow back? This is a sign of having an ice dam.
Another giveaway that you have an ice dam is the presence of icicles. As temperatures fluctuate and the sun starts shining, icicles can form and hang from the edge of your roof. While you may think this is a good sign showing the ice dam is melting, icicles can actually increase the risk of danger. Icicles are heavy and could pull your gutters and shingles from your roof. They’re also a risk to people below. Help yourself avoid icicles by preventing ice dams from forming.
Ice Dam Prevention Methods
Here are some of the best ice dam prevention methods:
- Install gutter guards: The right gutter guards can help prevent ice dams. Water from melting snow will be unable to flow through clogged gutters. If the water has nowhere to go, it can freeze, causing an ice dam. Gutter guards will make sure no leaves, twigs, or other debris clog up your gutters.
- Clean your gutters: Your gutters will gather debris throughout the year, so cleaning them is essential in preventing ice dams. Gutter guards help keep gutters clean, but your gutters have to be clean from the beginning to be effective. Hire ice dam prevention contractors to clean your gutters toward the end of autumn.
- Insulate your attic: If your attic lacks proper insulation, it will allow heat to escape from your living area. This warms up your roof, which can begin the process of ice dams forming. Make sure your attic is well-insulated to help prevent ice dams.
- Remove snow buildup from your roof: Sometimes, the snow on your roof might need a little persuasion. You can try using a long-handled broom or rake to remove the snow. Make sure you stand out of the snow’s path, as falling snow and ice can cause injuries. Doing this yourself could also result in roof and gutter damage. You’re better off calling ice dam removal professionals to keep yourself and your roof safe from harm.
- Invest in seamless gutters: Seamless gutters are high-quality gutters custom-designed for your home. Since they lack seams, they’ll never tear apart, leak, or warp from severe weather. This can help guarantee that water will flow properly through your gutters, reducing your risk of an ice dam.
Which Gutter Guards Are Best at Preventing Ice Dams?
Gutter guards are an important tool for reducing your home’s risk of ice dams. But which are the best? Here are three of the best gutter guards at preventing ice dams:
- Aluminum screens: Aluminum screen gutter guards are sheets of aluminum that fit over your gutters. They allow water to pass through while keeping large debris out. While they can get the job done, they tend to allow small debris to pass through their openings and could even blow off during heavy winds.
- Shur Flo gutter guards: Shur Flo created these specially designed gutter guards to withstand rust and allow water to pass through, even with debris lying on top. They fit into your gutters without connecting to your roof, which will respect your roof warranty if you have one.
- Micromesh: Micromesh is the newest technology for gutter guards. It’s more expensive than other options, but you may find the higher price worth it. Micromesh consists of stainless steel, features small holes to keep debris out, and is virtually invisible to the naked eye. Micromesh gutter guards often come with a warranty, giving you peace of mind that your gutters will stay in great shape for years to come.
Trust All Season Gutters to Prevent Ice Dams on Your Home
All Season Gutters has been serving the south-central Pennsylvania area for over 15 years. We offer a solution to your ice dam problems by providing the highest-quality gutter guards, seamless gutters, and installation services. We even offer roof installation services if you find yourself with a damaged roof after a brutal winter.
If you’re ready to learn more about how we can help prepare your roof for winter, call us at 717-315-3810. Feel free to schedule a free estimate online! We’re excited to meet you, and we look forward to serving you.