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Mitigation of Damages: 6 Ways To Protect Your Home From Ice Build Up

Ice buildup can cause rips, tears, and water damage to your home.

Ice buildup can cause rips, tears, and water damage to your home.

If the recent weather is any indication, it looks like winter has already arrived in Fort McMurray. With those freezing temperatures comes snow, wind and ice, which can have a damaging effect on your home if you don’t winterize properly. Being proactive about preventing ice from building up around your roof and areas where leaking and water damage can occur is imperative when it comes to mitigating the damages. Before winter really settles in, take these 6 safeguards to protect your home now before it’s too late.


1. Know How to Recognize Ice Dams

Ice dams are formed when rising heat partially melts the snow on your roof, causing the water to flow down. Once this water refreezes, it can cause a heavy build up of ice along the edge of your roof. The ice can not only damage your gutters, but can also tear and rip shingles and cause water damage in your roof and, in the worst-case scenario, cause water to seep down into your attic and possibly flow into exterior walls or through ceiling insulation.

Recognize the damaging effects of ice dams by looking for:

  • Warm spots or partially melted snow on your roof
  • Icicles forming off gutters or edge of the roof
  • Ice building up on the top of the gutter or lower edge of the roof
  • Ice coming through soffit vents or seams
  • Ice or water forming on exterior siding
  • Ice or water appearing around exterior or interior window frames


2. Check Your Attic

One of the best ways to prevent ice dams from forming is by checking your attic to see that it is properly insulated. Make sure your attic:

  • Has a temperature that is no more than 5-to-10 degrees warmer than the outside temperature.
  • Has proper ventilation with no moisture such as frost or condensation apparent anywhere on the walls or ceiling.
  • Has the right insulation (insulation requirements in Alberta based on the National Energy Code of Canada for Buildings suggest that Northern Alberta residents have insulation that has an R-value of at least R50).
  • Has vapour barrier or comprehensive air sealing on the warm side, below the insulation.


3. Get The Gunk out of Your Gutters

Now that the trees have undergone their annual exfoliation, it’s important to make sure that the dead leaves are cleared from the gutters around your home. A build up of debris can not only clog your gutters, but also lead to ice dams and subsequent water damage in your home. While you’re up on the ladder, make sure your gutters are free of any standing water. If you notice water pooling, it could mean that there is a crack or leak somewhere or the gutter is not directing water to the downspout.


4. Clear Your Roof of Snow

To further prevent the build up of ice and the formation of ice dams, it helps to clear your roof of snow, especially where there is an accumulation of more than 12 inches. The added weight could cause severe stress on your roof and cause the need for extensive water restoration due to leaking, and in the worst-case scenario, a cave-in. However, safety must first be considered before you go up on your roof, regardless of the amount of snow that has fallen. In the case of steep pitched roofs, which are usually pitches greater than 4:12, it is advised that you get a professional snow clearing company or roofer to assist you.


5. Reduce the Humidity in your Home

Ice build up not only occurs inside your home, it can sometimes take place around windows when vapour or condensation is trapped inside your home, which can damage window frames and also cause mould to grow.

Make sure humidity levels in your home are reduced by:

  • Running a dehumidifier around any areas where moisture is a problem
  • Making sure heating sources are running properly
  • Increasing air temperature at night with a space heater
  • Running a fan when cooking or after showering
  • Absorbing excess condensation with a rolled up towel on the window sill without touching the glass (mop up excess water and change the towel often)


6. Call a Property Restoration Company at the First Sign of Water Damage

If a build up of ice or snow has caused any kind of leak or flooding in your home, it’s important to contact a flood restoration company such as Proserve DKI to immediately mitigate the damage before it gets any worse.

For more helpful advice, read our blog on 5 Tips to Winterizing Your Home.

Proserve DKI offers 24/7 disaster relief and is one of the most trusted flood damage cleanup companies serving Fort McMurray and Wood Buffalo.