Ever drive by a house and admire the long glittering icicles hanging from the roof? Well, admire those from a distance. If you see those on your house, you likely have an ice damming issue.
Likewise, if there is a four inch iceberg on the edge of your roof, you’ve got a problem.
Also, a couple people a year get killed by falling ice or icicles from a roof.Do not walk right under the icy spears admiring them. If you are walking around a house with ice on the roof, stay near the wall under the eave or well clear of the fall zone to the perimeter.
Just a heads-up - if there is ice at the edge like this, I’m not getting on the roof.
How To Fix Ice Damming
The first thing to do is figure out where the heat is coming from to allow for the excessive snow melt. Usually, the first and best answer is that you do not have nearly enough insulation in your attic. You don’t even need to go into your attic to figure this out - if your roof is the first in the neighborhood to lose snow cover, you probably need more insulation. (I take perverse pride in having snow on my 1910 built home long after everyone else has exposed their shingles.. It a great sign that I did a solid job of insulating the home. Lower energy bills are nice, too.)
There are other factors that come into play. If you have canned ceiling lights, they can create enough heat to cause problems. Have a contractor insulate the boxes.
Check to make sure that you have enough effective attic ventilation. If you do not, the attic will retain warm air and lead to ice damming. Also, to mold growth.
If you have a furnace in the attic, make sure all the joints in your duct work are tight. Leaky ducts will cost you in more than dollars.
Insulate all your ventilation fan ducts. Bathroom fans and dryers move warm air to the outside. If they pass through the attic on the way, they will transfer much of their heat to the attic space. Insulate them and limit that possibility.
If these steps do not work to control your issue, it is time to call in a quality contractor to perform a thorough analysis of the heat transfer taking place, including thermal transfer through air exfiltration from ceiling penetrations or up the wall cavities.
Good luck! As always, if you have questions, feel free to call. I may have a tidbit of information that can help.
I’ll leave you with one more scary picture . . .