Icicle lights hanging from a roofline help to usher in the festive holiday season. Snowfall in Toronto Ontario generally occurs from mid-December to mid-March; however, it has been known to occur outside these months as well. During the wintertime, it’s not uncommon to see icicles formed from melted snow hanging from the side of a building. As pretty as the artificial icicle lights are that we purchase from the department stores, they are no comparison in beauty to the real thing. However, icicles can be indicative of ice dams or other problems in your home. Instead of lifting our spirits for the holidays, they can put a damper on them.

Ice dams are caused by heat inside an attic, which heats the roof causing the snow on top to melt. The melted snow (water) runs down the side of the building, but when the water reaches the eaves, it refreezes creating a band of ice. This band of ice prevents other snow and water from draining off the top of the roof, and as more snow melts, the water accumulates or “dams” and sits concentrated on top of the roof in the form of ice. When this ice melts into a pool of water, it will eventually lead to roof leaks and other damage to the building. 

Damage from roof leaks created by ice dams often manifest as water stains on the ceiling or interior walls. Other visible damage signs may consist of peeling paint on both the inside and outside of the building, damaged shingles, and sagging gutters. If you notice any signs of ice dams on your home, you should call a well-known and well-rated roofing company like Professional Roofers in Toronto to inspect your home for potential problems.

When ice dams form on a house, it generally means one of three things: that it is improperly insulated, improperly sealed, or improperly ventilated. Because of this, heat gets into the attic and dissipates through your roof, something that would not happen if your home were functioning efficiently. Professional Roofers, or another quality roofing expert in your area can help you figure out which problem your home suffers from.

Property owners can help prevent ice dams from forming by making sure all pipes, fixtures, and other openings leading to the attic are properly sealed to limit the amount of heat that escapes through the openings. In some instances, the insulation may need to be increased or the old insulation replaced with some that’s rated higher. If the attic is properly insulated, warm air will stay inside the building and not rise to the attic where it can create a differential in temperature enough to melt the snow on top of the roof. In a properly ventilated attic, the heat that does get in will be pulled away from the attic and distributed elsewhere. Ensuring that these measures are taken can also lower energy costs.

Repairing damage caused by ice dams can be expensive. With the amount of snow that falls in Toronto Ontario during the winter, the best way to ensure a building’s protection from being damaged by ice dams is to prevent them from forming. A home or building inspection by a professional will identify any problems with seals, insulation, or ventilation and help determine the best corrective action.