An ice dam is a thick, solid ridge of ice that gets built up along the eaves of the home. Ice dams can cause water damage to overhangs, as well as inside the home. So what causes this? Well, the simple answer is heat. Heat builds up in an attic and melts snow on the roof. The snowmelt/slush slides to the edge of the cold overhang, where it re-freezes and creates a dam along the roofs edge. When more snowmelt occurs above the ice dam, water builds up and can leak into the structure of the home. Asphalt shingles are not designed to be buried in water—they will leak. Lack of insulation and ventilation allow an attic to get too warm. Air leaks and gaps around can lights can also contribute to issues. You can prevent ice dams by ensuring proper insulation and ventilation and by minimizing use of can lights. Heat tape and cables can also be used.
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