Tag Archives: ice dam

Ice Dam Relief for your Roof

A slight formation of ice may be nice to look at, since the forces of nature made some sculptures with the help of freezing temperatures, water and ice. However, people don’t seem to know that much when it comes to the actual effects it’ll have on a house. How does it form up and what can we do to keep things away from a “frozen” situation?

A poor victim of ice dams is the gutter system. A good gutter system will also involve a good gutter cover but when the snow comes in – it’s another story. What causes an ice dam? Snow, heat, and the cold temperatures. Two main factors also play a big part. The outdoor temperature and indoor temperature – most probably the one from the attic. When the roof catches snow, the heat from the attic melts it – so presumably it’ll just flow down to the gutter and to the downspout. However, that isn’t always the case. So it flows down, then when it comes close to the gutter, the cold temperature almost freezes it immediately, building up a small dam. Unless it’s being dealt with right away, the “dam” will build up and eventually even cover up your gutter system. Definitely not a good sight to see, and not a small problem that you can deal with on another day.

Ice dams are one of the biggest spoilers of the gutter system. Some people would say that gutters cause the dams, but hey – they’re only the unwilling victims. Aside from damaging your gutters, unmelted snow will seep into the house and damage the interiors. It’ll also ruin the heat insulation of the house which will result to expensive repairs. On the other hand, that’ll be prevented – the home owner just needs to be well equipped with some tools and some adjustments to the roof and ceiling.

Having an indoor furnace isn’t enough, as too much heat on the attic will just let the melted snow flow down and get frozen at the part of the roof which isn’t heated. Proper insulation and ventilation sorts the problem out. Having exhaust vents will let warm air go through them and gets cool air in. The vents just need to be regularly checked for debris. Proper attic ventilation will smooth out the drastic changes in temperature and prevent the water to be frozen at the gutters. The vents located at the soffits or eaves are a big help already, so make sure it’s well-maintained.

Some also use a ridge vent, which is a continuous vent that runs up to the roof’s peak. Others use a turbine that’s heat-propelled and spins as air passes through. To have it prevented in the first place, make it a point to regularly rake the roof and get the snow off, and heat tapes can also be installed.

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What’s a Heat Tape Anyway?

When the winter comes, our gutters suffer greatly from it. The weight of snow is a threat to the performance of gutter systems, especially when ice dams form. It can somehow be minimized by raking the snow off your roof, but you can’t simply do it everytime. This is when a heat tape comes into play. But how does it exactly work?

Usually, a heat tape is installed in water pipes to prevent them from freezing in extremely low temperatures, which happens in winter. It’s not literally a tape though, but instead an electrical wire enclosed in a tape-like cord. It is installed in roof or along the gutters, ran in loops. It can be 30 ft up to even 150 ft long, depending on the need (it even goes up to a thousand feet). Some varieties are engineered to automatically heat up when the temperature reaches a certain point, or be activated on a specific part of the day when the weather gets snowy or cold.

Having a heat tape is extremely useful for your gutter system. An ice dam will really give your gutter a hard time, for ice dams continue to accumulate. If nothing is done with it, the gutter will be damaged due to the weight of the ice, get cracked, and will even have icicles below, which is hazardous.

If you’ll decide to buy one, make sure to have the measurement of your roof’s overhanging edge. That will give you a hint on how long your heat tape must be. For example, if your roof’s overhang is 12 inches, you will need 2 feet for every 1 foot of the roof edge. Do the math. Add also the gutter and the downspout length to come up with an approximate length of what you’ll get. A standard heat tape is 120 and 150 volts, but there’s also some that reach 500-600 volts.

When installing it, make use of the clips included. There will be clips for the roof, gutter and downspouts. Follow the instructions carefully from the manufacturer, it’ll be included in the purchase. Check the wattage to, if it can handle the power load. There’s also a control box included in the kit, so have the tape installed there and place it near the gutter, preferably in a corner.

Heat Tapes is a essential part of your gutter system as it keeps your roof safe, and icicle-free. Better get one now!

Gutter Culprit: Ice Dam (video)

When winter’s around the corner, one of the main problems we will have are ice dams on our gutters. Not only because it’s hard to remove, but the added weight will gradually hurt our gutters and damage our home. Find out what causes it and ways to prevent it from happening.