Your roof is designed to handle most snow and ice, but problems can occur if an ice dam forms. These dams allow moisture to seep beneath shingles and into your house.
1. Improve Your Roof Vents
Ice dams are often a result of poor attic ventilation. Hot air from heating your home becomes trapped in the attic where it then melts the snow on your roof too quickly. Once the snowmelt reaches the edge of the roof where temperatures are lower, it refreezes into a dam. Your roofer can upgrade your roof's ventilation system so hot air no longer collects in the attic. They can install additional soffit vents and ridge vents to ensure cool air moves through the attic properly.
2. Check the Gutters
Malfunctioning gutters can also lead to dams because meltwater won't flow properly, and it will instead freeze at the eaves. Gutters need to be cleaned out every fall to ensure proper water flow. Your roofer may also need to assess the gutters to make sure they are properly aligned beneath the roof edge, otherwise, the melt may not flow off the roof as it should and an ice dam may form.
3. Install Heat Cables
In some cases, your roof may need a bit of help to ensure snowmelt doesn't freeze at the eaves. This is especially true if you have a low-slope roof. Heat cables can be installed along the overhanging area of the eaves. These cables come on automatically when temperatures drop to a certain preset reading. They heat up just enough to melt any ice that forms on the eaves, which will then prevent ice dams from forming.
4. Buy a Roof Rake
Another option for a low slope roof or any roof where snow and ice collect near the eaves is a roof rake. These telescoping tools are made to safely remove snow from roof edges before it melts and refreezes into hard ice. If you choose this option for ice dam mitigation, have your roofer show you how to use it properly so you don't accidentally damage any of the shingles near the edge of your roof.
5. Get Help
If ice dams are already forming, it is best to bring in a professional. A roofing contractor should have the tools and knowledge to remove the ice dam and patch any leaks it caused before extensive damage occurs inside your attic. The key is to act as soon as you realize there is an issue so that major damage doesn't occur.
Contact a certified roofer for more information.