How do Ice Dams form? What can be done?

Although sometimes thought of as a problem with roofing or attic ventilation, ice dams are actually caused by the presence of warm air in the attic, combined with snow on the roof and the right weather conditions. When heat leaks into the attic it melts the underside of the snow on the roof, which then flows down the roof surface until it reaches cold spot (such as the eaves or soffit) where it forms a frozen dam.  The ice build-up can back up under the shingles, damaging them and allowing water to leak to the ceilings and walls below.

Ice dams form from air leaks from the inside of your home

The source of ice dams: attic air leaks

Warm air leaking from the house into the attic is the primary cause of ice dams. Anywhere there is a penetration into the attic space (around wires, plumbing vents, light fixtures, chimneys, knee walls) there is the potential for air leaks. Even homes that are only a few years old may not be properly sealed. To avoid these types of problems and eliminate most ice dams, attic air leaks must be sealed with caulking or expanding spray foam. Inadequate insulation, especially near the eaves, is also a contributing cause of ice dams.


What NOT to do:

  • Installing heating cables will shorten the life of your roof and cost you money to operate.
  • Removing ice with shovels, chippers, chemicals, or heat can damage shingles, gutters, and other building components—and can be dangerous.
  • Adding roof vents—including powered vents—will not eliminate ice dams, and often makes the problems worse.
  • Additional insulation—especially on the top plate of exterior walls—can reduce heat transfer to the roof deck, but insulation alone is insufficient. Typical attic insulation will not stop air leaks or prevent ice dams.

For more information: Or to have your ICE DAM Removed professionally Call Today 231-946-3531

Full text and pictures curtosey of to view and download energy-related
Call Now ButtonCall Us!