Ice Dam FAQ

Here are the most Frequently Asked Questions about ice dams, ice dam removal, and ice dam prevention. If you’re not sure what an ice dam is, why it’s a bad thing, how to fix it, or how to prevent it, you’ve come to the right place.

 

What is an ice dam?

Ice dams are clumps of ice that build up at the edge of a roof. Snow on the roof eventually melts, due to sun warmth and/or the heat rising from your home’s attic. As this melted snow slowly trickles down your roof, it often refreezes at the edge, because the edge of the roof is usually colder than the middle. This temperature difference causes that melted snow to freeze again into ice at the edge of your roof. This ice builds up and up, and then water begins to collect behind the ice and, with nowhere to go, can eventually seep underneath the shingles, ultimately dripping through the roof into your soffit, attic, the walls of the house, and onto your ceiling below.

 

What’s the biggest problem with ice dams?

Water damage. That melted snow and ice that collected behind the ice dam has nowhere else to go, and can find its way in cracks in your shingles, down into your attic, and along your beams into attic insulation, ceilings, drywall, and more. Water damage from ice dams can be extremely costly and hazardous, since water in your attic insulation can cause mold, and water damage to ceilings and drywall often mean complete replacement of walls, ceilings, insulation, personal belongings, and more. And, it can also affect your exterior as well – the roof integrity, siding, soffit, and gutters. We’ve seen cases of gutters pulled away from the home due to the ice freezing and refreezing! Very costly indeed.

 

How do I know if I have an ice dam?

If you see a fairly large section of ice on the edge or perimeter of your roof, or unusually large length or number of icicles, there’s a strong chance you have an ice dam. Additionally, if you are seeing water stains or rust stains on your interior ceiling you haven’t seen before, strong musty odors, rust on hinges, or even “soft” sections of drywall or peeling paint on your walls, there’s a strong chance of ice damming damage.

 

What do I do if I have an ice dam?

Ice Dam Liquidators is a professional ice dam removal company in Minneapolis MN that can inspect your roof and interior to see if you have an ice dam situation that needs addressing. The good news is that ice dam removal is only a few hundred dollars, and is well worth it compared to the thousands that water damage can create – not to mention the hassle of insurance claims, etc. We’ll gladly chat with you about your unique situation, visit your home or business, and provide a free, no-obligation estimate. Just call us at (612) 251-6938 and we’ll get you set up for an inspection at your convenience.

 

Will insurance cover ice dam damage?

That depends on your policy, and you’d need to talk to your insurance agent about your specific policy, but insurance companies have paid claims to homeowners with water damage due to ice dams. The good news is that we’re experienced in working with insurance companies – not only is our parent company (Storm Group Roofing) very familiar with storm damage to roofs and siding, and working with insurance company claims, but we are also a SAAG Certified Contractor, which is a credential that allows us to work within the insurance process much better, which makes it smoother and easier for our customers as well.

 

Can I remove an ice dam myself?

It is NOT recommended that you climb a ladder and start chiseling away at chunks of ice on your roof during winter. It is extremely unsafe, and probably bad for your roof, since chipping at ice can potentially damage your roof shingles, which can be especially sensitive and brittle in cold temperatures.

 

How does Ice Dam Liquidators remove ice dams?

We have several techniques of ice dam solutions, but the primary method is our low-pressure, high-temperature steamers. These ice dam steaming machines do a great job of allowing us to precisely direct the steam toward the ice, without adding any more water to the situation, or chiseling and damaging fragile shingles. We can strategically address the ice dam and icicles in a safe and harmless way. We turn that ice into liquid – that’s why we’re the Ice Dam Liquidators!

 

While steam is our main method, we may also use roof heating cables to create small channels in the ice dam and gutters. And, we also can do roof snow removing in the Minneapolis and St. Paul Twin Cities area.

 

What does ice dam removal cost?

Typically, removing an ice dam takes a few hours and is a few hundred dollars, depending on the situation. It’s a small price to pay compared to the thousands of dollars that water damage can cause, not to mention the inconvenience and cost of replacing drywall, ceilings, insulation, etc. – not to mention the insurance claim hassles. For your convenience, you can place an online order and see our rates here, or just call us at (612) 251-6938 to schedule an appointment.

 

What causes an ice dam?

You can read a little more detail on this on our Home page, but here’s the basics:

  • Snow builds up on your rooftop from recent winter storms
  • The snow starts to melt due to both the heat of the sun from above and heat loss from your home below
  • Melted snow trickles down the roof’s surface, and settles along the roof’s cold edges, colder valleys, and gutter lines
  • When temperatures drop below freezing again (32 degrees), the melted snow refreezes, and forms “dams” of ice on the edge of the roof and gutters
  • As snow continues to melt and head down the roof, that water meets the ice dam. With nowhere else to go, the water pools start to build up behind the ice dams
  • Left unchecked, this standing water may leak into the roof itself, which can result in mold, damaged or stained sheetrock, damaged ceiling tile, warped hardwood floors, damaged personal belongings, and countless other types of interior home damage
  • As the large, heavy chunks of ice on the rooftop contract and expand, it can result in costly damage to the roof, soffit, and gutters
  • Icicles grow in length and number as additional refreezing occurs, causing potential safety hazards for family members, pets, neighbors, and service workers

 

When do ice dams usually occur?

Ice dams are most common when temperatures are above the freezing level during the day, and below freezing at night. Above 32 degrees (F) causes snow and ice on your roof to melt, and of course below 32 freezes it. All this freezing, melting, and re-freezing is dangerous to your home if not addressed properly in removing it, and preventing it.

 

How can I prevent ice dams?

The most effective way to preventing ice dams away from your house altogether is to make sure your attic and roof stay consistently cold. This is accomplished with proper insulation, and proper ventilation.

 

Talk of keeping your attic cold almost seems counter-intuitive, especially since we’re so used to cranking the heat up in the colder months. Heat rises however, and in an improperly insulated, sealed, or ventilated attic, that rising heat that slips through cracks or weak attic insulation will lead to a warmer attic. Without proper insulation etc., your attic becomes warmer than the outside air, causing the roof directly above it to melt snow.

 

But here’s the big problem. The roof’s edges are out of the path of the attic’s rising warm air, so the roof center stays warm, while the edges remain cold. If the edges are below freezing, and the main section is above freezing, that melting snow simply freezes at the edges – exactly the area where ice dams occur.

 

So, the best advice we have is to ensure that your attic is properly insulated and ventilated so that the attic stays as cold as the outside temperature, which will prevent these temperature discrepancies, and go a long way in preventing ice dams from forming in the first place.

 

Can you help me with insulation and ventilation?

YES. Our sister company is Storm Group Insulation, and our specialty is to first do a blower door test that measures for heat loss and energy saving potential, as well as installation of all home insulation types. It’s important that your attic and home exterior have the optimized level of insulation and ventilation to prevent ice damming, as well as keep your home safe and warm while saving money on energy costs.

 

Our other sister companies are Storm Group Roofing, Storm Group Siding, and Storm Group Gutters, so you can see that we’re a complete home exterior contractor that’s well-versed and experienced in all types of Minneapolis insulation and exterior improvements.

We encourage you to call Ice Dam Liquidators at (612) 251-6938 to set up a free, no-obligation estimate. Our friendly Minneapolis ice dam removal specialists will analyze the situation to ensure you avoid any more costly damage, prevent future problems, and work with insurance companies on your behalf. We look forward to working with you!