Weather perfect for the formation of ice dams on roof eaves

Weather perfect for the formation of ice dams on roof eaves. (WWMT Cyrus Raymond)

Winter can create some beautiful scenery across West Michigan, but the damage ice dams can do to homes is not pretty.

Newschannel 3 Photojournalist Cyrus Raymond talked to Bob Ackerman with West Michigan Roofing and Construction to find out how to prevent a costly headache.

Ackerman said, "So this year is a little bit different, it's got the perfect recipe, we've got the low temperatures, like the sub-freezing temperatures, and then we've had the increase amount of snow, so we've had a lot of snow sitting on the roof, and it's been insulating the heat in there, making these ice dams in there form up."

An ice dam is formed when water melts off the roof and refreezes as it reaches the edge. The refreezing causes a large chunk of ice to form.

Ackerman said, "And So that's where water is getting backed up, and getting under the flashings and the different membranes that are put into your house envelope, because it's not just the roof now, it's dealing with the siding and things like that."

The backed up water then begins to drip into the house from the dead space in the house.

Ackerman said, "That's where it was leaking, and it was coming in from that outside spot, running all down here and it was coming in here pretty good."

He said to prevent an ice dam from forming to shovel off the eaves of the roof.

He said, "Even houses that are built to spec and proper code are having issues, so you have to shovel off your roof, and not the whole roof, but at the eave, down by the bottom where the ice dams form."

If an ice dam does form on your roof to rake behind where the ice dam formed and call professionals to deal with clearing the roof.

Ackerman said, "I shoved all the snow back and cleared it away, it may look like there's a monster icicle here, and it is, it'll fall off tomorrow, it's just kind of dangerous right now, I want it to slowly go off than break the window"

The damage from an ice dam can be varied from a leaking roof that causes mold or water damage, to major damage to gutters and downspouts.

Ackerman said, "And that icicle was just too big, I know when they sell this gutter in the promo ad they show two guys like me just hanging on it, so it can hold like two 200 pound guys and it didn't hold up to that."

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