Skip to main content

Is Your Home An Ice Castle?

Ice Dam

Ice Dams Happen! (But they don’t have to)

 Guest post by Tiger Home & Building Inspections



An ice dam is a layer of ice that forms at the edge of your home’s roof and prevents melting snow from properly draining. The melting snow creates conditions where water backs up behind the dam and leaks into a home causing damage to walls, ceilings, insulation, and potentially other systems within the home.

The causes of ice dams are complex; conditions have to be just right for this phenomenon to occur: heat loss from the house, snow cover on the roof, and outside temperatures must be in concert for the dam to form.

The dam grows during the daytime by the melting snow from above it. This melted snow (water) finds openings in the exterior roof covering, flows into the attic, and eventually into the spaces below. The services of a Weatherization Contractor should be sought out to diagnose and correct deficiencies related to ice dam formation. These are professionals who can deal with the heat transfer problem that creates ice dams.

A study done by the University of Minnesota where ice dams are common, suggests the following:

Immediate action:

  • Remove snow from the roof. This eliminates one of the ingredients necessary for the formation of an ice dam. A “roof rake” and push broom can be used to remove snow, but may damage the roofing materials.
  • In an emergency situation where water is flowing into the house structure, making channels through the ice dam allows the water behind the dam to drain off the roof. Hosing with tap water on a warm day will do this job. Work up from the lower edge of the dam. The channel will become ineffective within days and is only a temporary solution to ice dam damage.

Long-term action:

  • First, make the ceiling air tight so no warm, moist air can flow from the house into the attic space.
  • After sealing air leakage paths between the house and attic space, consider increasing the ceiling/roof insulation to cut down on heat loss by conduction.

Tiger Home & Building Inspection //1353 Boston Post Road, Suite 8 /Madison, CT 06443 /Tel: 800-328-4677 /Fax: 203-245-2067 /Website:

Maria Hagan

Prudential Connecticut Realty 1142d Silas Deane Hwy Wethersfield, CT 06109 Cell: 860-305-8044 Email:

Hartford CT Real Estate Agent
East Hartford CT Real Estate Agent
Wethersfield CT Real Estate Agent
Rocky Hill CT Real Estate Agent
Homes for Sale in Greater Hartford CT

Follow Maria Hagan on Twitter
Find Maria’s Guide to Living in the Greater Hartford, CT Area on Facebook
Connect with Maria Hagan on LinkedIn

One thought on “Is Your Home An Ice Castle?

  1. This information is very valuable to all homeowners who are struggling with this severe winter. Tiger Home and Building Inspection provides us with great tips and information on how to remedy a problem which left unattended can lead to serious consequences. Thank You Maria for sharing.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *