Close this search box.
Close this search box.

Ice Dams: Danger From Above

Jacki Weston Silveri, CDMP, PCM | Eastern Diversified Services

Prior to my employment at Eastern Diversified Services (EDS), I had the misfortune of incurring an ice dam at my own home. Until that day, I’d never even heard of an ice dam! Three of my children and I were enjoying a game of Monopoly and discussing how much snow had fallen and how bitterly cold it had been. We were blissfully unaware of the water that had been seeping into the roof and the walls and creating some extensive damage.

The sudden realization came when the overhead light sizzled and the bulb burst – with a rush of water then pouring out of the ceiling through the light fixture! You can imagine the shrieks from the kids when the water gushed out of the ceiling onto our game! (This may have been the shortest Monopoly game in history!)

By the time we knew there was a problem, there was already a significant amount of damage. The ceiling and walls were wet and we were cleaning the water off of the floor. The walls on the opposite side of the kitchen were also wet and the closet with an attic access panel incurred damage to some clothing and contents. I had no idea there was any damage to the bedroom above until I entered the room later that night. You can imagine my shock when I felt the squish of water under my feet! The carpet was completely saturated!

Apparently, with all of the snow that had fallen and the resulting sun melting some of what was there, the frozen gutters were not able to handle the melted snow and it backed up under the shingles…..thus creating an ice dam and quite a mess in several rooms in the house.

An ice dam is a ridge of ice that forms along the edge of a roof and keeps the melting snow from draining properly. This, in turn, causes the melted snow/water to build up behind the ice dam. The buildup of water can leak into your home when it backs up under the shingles. Ice dams can cause significant damage to ceilings, walls, electrical, carpets, floors, and insulation; not to mention personal contents.

Ice dams might form when these conditions are present:

• There is snow on the roof.

• The average outside temperature is below freezing

• The roof surface temperature at the higher points is above freezing and at the lower points is below freezing.

The snow on the higher part of the roof melts and the water flows down towards the gutters. When the melted snow reaches the part of the roof that is below freezing it then freezes in and above the gutters. As more snow melts the resulting water has nowhere to drain and eventually will push up under the shingles – thus creating the interior damage.

Three important signs of an ice dam forming:

    1. Heavy icicles forming on the edges of your roof/gutters

    2. Icicles forming behind the gutter or around your window frames

    3. Ice buildup on top of the gutter or on the lower edge of the roof (frozen gutters) – setting the stage for a water damage to occur.

    Currently there are several products available that you can use to prevent an ice dam and they range from an immediate need product to a preventative maintenance product. Your local hardware store will likely carry each of these. Another good product to have is a snow rake with a handle long enough to reach your roof. Check online to compare prices and product features, but a decent snow rake will cost about $50 – which is far less expensive than remediating water damage!

    My first encounter with a restoration company occurred when the EDS technicians came to restore my property. There was extensive damage on two floors and I had to have some carpets replaced, some drywall replaced, painting, and the general upheaval of having 5 rooms impacted. To this day, I am much more conscious about what is happening with the snow and the icicles on my rooftop.

    As winter continues to bring the frigid temps, ice and accumulating snow, please keep an eye out for a possible ice dam forming on your roof.

    Jackie Silveri joined EDS 9 years ago as Director of Marketing where she manages all of the strategic and tactical aspects of the organization’s marketing, advertising, and communications functions. Jackie’s past experiences include over 20 years in marketing and communications management. She is a graduate of Immaculata University with a Bachelor’s Degree in marketing and healthcare management; and two marketing accreditations from the Digital Marketing Institute, (CDMP & PCM). She has also earned several restoration industry certifications including her 30 Hour OSHA Safety Certification. In 2022, she earned 6 additional certifications through the FEMA Instutite. In her position, Jackie oversees all of the company’s trade show events and conferences; and is actively involved in many associations – both locally and regionally. Visit Eastern Diversified Services online at: www.easterndiversified.com