What To When Ice Dams Cause Roof Leaks
An ice dam roof leak is something most Connecticut homeowners hope to avoid during the winter months. But, the heavy snow and freezing temperatures in Madison create the right conditions for a roof leak from melting snow and ice to form.
If you've recently noticed your ceiling or roof leaking after heavy snow in Madison, CT, you're likely dealing with ice dam water damage. Here, we will share tips on why ice dams form, what kind of damages they can cause to your home, and most importantly what to do when you find an ice dam leak inside of your Connecticut home.
Why Do Ice Dams Form?
Ice dams don't need much to form on your roof. Essentially, all that's needed is snow on your roof and a warm attic.
If your attic is warm after it snows, it can cause a warm roof. This becomes an issue because it causes winter snow on the eave of the roof to melt, as this is the warmest area of the roof from heat rising. If you have a sloped roof, melting snow and ice flows down the roof and reaches the edges. Here, it refreezes, because this area of the roof is outside of your home's perimeter and isn't warmed by indoor temperatures.
As this process repeats over time, more and more ice builds up with the snow at the edge of the roof and forms a wall of snow and ice, called an ice dam. As snow continues to melt, it is blocked from flowing off the roof from the dam and gets trapped underneath it. This process continues until warm enough weather comes to melt the dam or it is physically removed.
Common Causes of Ice Dams Include:
- Lack of insulation in your attic
- Heat loss into attic from living space through unsealed doors
- Exhaust vents discharging warm air into the attic
- Recessed lighting in living spaces can warm your attic
- Unsealed ductwork can release heat into your attic
- A complicated roof structure or flat roof can make it hard for snow to properly melt and form a dam
How Do Ice Dams Cause Water Leaks?
Ice dams cause winter roof leaks because of the water that gets trapped underneath the dam. Your shingles are designed to shed water rather than hold water, so over time the water trapped inside of the dam backs up underneath the shingles. When this water gets past the waterproof rubber membranes under the shingles, it causes a roof leak.
How to Identify Ice Dam Roof Leaks
The most telling sign of an ice dam is roof leaks. Unfortunately, most homeowners don't catch these leaks until water has reached their living spaces and begins to cause damages. Signs of ice dam leaks include:
- Water damage
- Water stains on ceilings
- Ceiling leaks
- Wet insulation
- Mold growth
- Sagging or bubbling ceilings or walls
- Sagging gutters
What to do When There's an Ice Dam on Your Roof in Connecticut
If you don't take prompt action when you have an ice dam, it can cause serious damage to your roof and inside of your home. If you just wait for the dam to melt on it's own, you'll likely end up with extensive water damage inside of your home from water leaks. Take the following steps when you have a roof leak from melting snow:
1. Contain the water
Before you start doing anything else, set out a bucket, towels, or tarps to catch water leaking from your ceiling or roof. This will help prevent your snow leak from affecting other areas of your home.
2. Remove the ice dam
There are many methods for DIY removal, such as climbing on your roof to chip away ice or melting it with sodium chloride. While these methods are possible, we always recommend calling a local professional for ice dam removal. Climbing on to your snowy roof can be extremely dangerous and picking off ice can damage your roof even further.
3. Call a local ice dam water damage restoration company
The water damage inside your home from a roof leak should be handled by a professional damage restoration company. This is because water is likely behind walls, inside insulation or light fixtures, and mold may be present as well. To ensure your home is properly restored after a roof leak from melting snow in Connecticut, you can call SERVPRO of Old Saybrook.
Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Ice Dam Damage in Connecticut?
Yes, your homeowners insurance should cover the repairs from ice dam damage inside of your home. Before expecting everything to be covered, be sure to review your policy for any exclusions or caveats that could result in your claim being rejected.
Unfortunately, insurance companies usually do not pay for ice dam removal, meaning you'll have to pay out of pocket for this service. But, the water damage and structural problems from your ice dam roof leak in Madison should be covered.
Preventing Ice Dam Roof Leaks in Madison, CT
There are many steps you can take to prevent roof leaks from melting snow in Connecticut.
Better Insulate Your Attic
Since ice dams form because of warm attics and roofs, your best line of defense is to keep your attic nice and cold. This can be done by adding additional insulation to your flooring, sealing any air leaks from your living space, or making sure that any ductwork isn't leaking warm air into the attic.
Remove Snow With A Roof Rake
If your roof is chronically prone to forming ice dams, one of the best things you can do is simply remove snow with a roof rake. This way, there's no chance for snow to melt on your roof and refreeze at the edges.
Clean Out Your Gutters
While your gutters don't necessarily cause ice dams to form, they can contribute to its growth. When your gutters are clogged, it's hard for melting snow to easily flow off of your roof, trapping water. Simply cleaning out your gutters in the fall before cold weather hits can significantly reduce the chance for large ice dams.
Don't Ignore Your Attic
You shouldn't ignore your attic after a heavy snow. In fact, you should be sure to inspect it for any signs of water leaks or water damage after it snows. While this won't prevent an ice dam roof leak, it can help you catch one before it causes extensive damage throughout your Madison home.
When You Need Help With Ice Dam Roof Leaks in Connecticut, Call SERVPRO of Old Saybrook!
Our team of water damage restoration specialists in Madison, CT are ready to respond to your call 24/7 to prevent further damages to your home. We work hard to make roof leaks from melting snow "Like it never even happened."