If there’s anything any Calgary AB homeowner won’t want to deal with, it’s roofing problems. Unfortunately, they always arrive during the most unexpected of periods. You may have prepared your home with  de-winterization for winter, but ice dams still keep forming on your roof. It’s problematic because ice dam water leaking into house will definitely cause serious damages to both your roofing material, attic, and possibly your home interiors.

What causes ice dams? What can we do if we have ice dams? We’ll answer these questions and a lot more in this post. For the first one, we’ll refer to West Bend‘s take on what causes ice dams.

Ice Dam Water Leaking Into House: The Causes

What causes ice dams?
Ice dams form when melted snow refreezes at roof edges. Three things are required for an ice dam to form: snow, heat to melt the snow, and cold to refreeze the melted snow. The heat from inside the home rises through the ceilings and into the attic. If the attic is sufficiently ventilated, heat is dispersed, leaving the attic area and roof deck as cold as the outside air. Without sufficient attic ventilation, however, heat collects under the roof deck and melts the snow on the roof. Melted snow rolls down the roof slope to the eave and refreezes before dripping off the roof. As this process continues, the layer of ice at the eave gets thicker; eventually causing a “dam” that traps the melted snow behind it and creates a pool of water.

Ice dams can cause different types of damage. If the water from the melted snow continues to flow, the water pools and eventually backs up onto the roof surface. The pool of water can creep under the shingles and into the home causing interior water damage to walls, ceilings, insulation, and other areas. Sometimes the ice dam can cause damage to the roof covering, as well. The water can also continue to re-freeze causing a large amount of ice to build up in the gutters. This build-up can cause a weight problem, collapsing the gutters from the ice build-up. (Continued)

When ice dam water leaking into house in Calgary AB, it’s essential to apply an immediate solution. For most homeowners, they’ll find an ice dam heating cable that heats up areas of their roof. In turn, this prevents possible snow from turning into ice dam water leaking into house eventually.

However, is it as effective as advertised? Will it last as a viable solution for this winter and the next winters to arrive? Minnesota Post has a great feature on ice dam cables and everything you should note about it.

Should You Use Ice Dam Cables For Your Roof?

Heat Cable Problem #1: It’s often a Band-Aid.

Heat cable doesn’t fix the root cause of the problem: too much snow on a roof that’s overheated because warm air is leaking into your attic.

90% of the time that problem is fixable, and it all starts with a quality home energy audit from someone who understands insulation, ventilation, and ice dams. You’ll probably be urged to seal up spaces where warm air is sneaking into your attic – like around light fixtures, outlets, etc. These areas that allow air-leaks into your attic are called “attic bypasses.” Your energy auditor may also tell you to double down on your insulation, or to improve your ventilation, or both

Heat Cable Problem #2: It’s an energy-drainer.

Even very good heat cable may add about 20% to your energy bill – all depending on how often you power it on. That’s no better on your wallet than it is on the environment. (If I’m going to incur the wrath of Al Gore, at least I’d want it to be because I’ve got the showiest Christmas lights in the neighborhood.) (Read More)

If ice dam cables aren’t the best solutions to remove ice dams and prevent their occurrence in the future, then which should we use to preserve the lifespan of our roofing material? The best way is to depend on the advice or professional work of the best and reputable roofing contractors in Calgary AB. It might seem like a huge investment, but without any worries regarding your roof, you’re definitely in good hands.

Roofing contractors have handled numerous ice dam repairs in the past and they’ll definitely give you the best solutions. Angie’s List has a great compilation of these advices. Read more about them below.

Ice Dam Water Damage: What Contractors Say

“Don’t try to loosen an ice dam on your own,” warns Bob O’Sullivan, owner of Ranch Roofing & Renovations. “You don’t want to damage the gutters, or yourself.”

O’Sullivan, whose business is based in Arlington but services the Boston area, encourages homeowners to call a roofer before they pick up a hammer and start pounding.

When homeowners chip away at ice dams with sledgehammers or hatchets, they may damage their roof by penetrating shingles, or worse, says Mike Cortner, owner of Newton-based Express Roofing, which also services the Boston area.

“When I have evaluated such jobs, it looks as if someone was chopping wood on the roof,” Cortner says.

Instead, Cortner recommends buying an aluminum snow rake from the local hardware store to brush off excess snow from low-pitched ranch roofs. Another option, he says, is to call a licensed electrician to run a heat cable up your gutter to melt the snow. (Continued)

It is vital to remember that DIY removal of snow on your roof is equivalent to using heated cables. The best way to maintain your roof’s integrity and prevent ice dam water leaking into house is to use the services of a reputable Calgary AB roofing contractor to build a snow-conductive attic. If you have yet to find one, you can count on No Payne Roofing to help. With our experience and knowledge, we’ll deliver the caliber of roofing service you need.