What is an Ice Dam?
When improper or insufficient insulation allows heat to collect in the attic, it will warm up the roof except at the edge of the roof. The snow melts from the warm part of the roof then freezes at the eaves. The ice accumulates, forming a dam. Melting snow from the warmer part of the roof backs up behind the ice dam and is pushed under the shingles and into your home. Similarly, an improperly ventilated home can cause heat to build up which can’t escape and causes condensation, which can damage the insulation and cause the ice dams.
Ice Dam Prevention
The only sure way to prevent ice dams is to solve the insulation and ventilation problems that are causing it. Other methods of trying to remove the snow before the ice builds up or removing the ice dam may be necessary in the meantime. Snow rakes can be used to remove the snow. Calcium chloride can be used to melt ice (never use salt which will deteriorate shingles and metal gutters and trim). Care must be taken when removing ice so that damage to shingles and roof structure do not occur. Consider hiring an insured professional.
Investing in the solution will not only prevent damaging ice, but will help you save on energy costs long term.