ice dams

Recognizing the Symptoms of Ice Dams for Better Prevention

Marc Champagne Sherwood Inspection Services, LLC Leave a Comment

Icicles may add a bit of sparkle to the bleak winter months, but the reality is ice can tear gutters down, damage roof shingles and cause water to back up into your house. All of these contribute to expensive repair costs. The reality is, the evidence of ice damming may not always be evident year round. A home inspection with Sherwood Inspection Services will help you recognize if there are symptoms of ice dams — even during summer months! Understanding these conditions now will help a home buyer better maintain a home for years after.

What Causes Ice Dams:

Ice damming occurs when heat collects in the attic, the roof warms melting snow with the exception of the eaves.  The snow on the warm roof melts and then freezes on the cold eaves. As ice accumulates a dam is formed at the eaves. Melt water builds behind the dam, flowing back up under the roof shingles and into the house.  

What To Look For:

In the cold winter months spotting ice dams is not that challenging. Heavy slabs of ice built up along roof edges are obvious signs of a problem. There are other less obvious symptoms that may be present as well. Water stains or peeling paint in living areas could indicate past ice dams. Moisture, rot or fungal stains at the sheathing in the attic could also be a sign. Even warping of floors could be an indication of a past problem. During the home inspection a well trained inspector can spot these signals and help educate your client about the conditions in the home. 

Ice Happens

At the end of the cold day – ice happens! Ice damming is not uncommon and is typically something that can be remedied with some quick fixes such installing heated cables at the roof edge or by raking heavy snow off the roof before ice dams occur. Permanent measures to prevent ice dams are also available. Improving the ventilation in the attic, sealing air gaps, insulating hatches and fan openings and improving insulation levels in the attic are all beneficial in preventing ice dams.  To understand if your insulation levels meet current standards you can have a home energy audit, or schedule a home inspection with Sherwood Inspection Services today and receive a complimentary energy audit with your inspection.

Marc Champagne is an ASHI Certified Home Inspector with Sherwood Inspection Services and President of the American Society of Home Inspectors Coastal CT Chapter.

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