Tips to Prevent the Formation of Ice Dams on Your Roof

Tips to Prevent the Formation of Ice Dams on Your RoofIn the past couple of weeks, New England has encountered two major snow storms, resulting in over three feet of accumulation in certain areas. This heavy snow build-up on your roof can lead to the formation of ice dams. An ice dam forms when the water from melting snow re-freezes at the edge of the roofline, preventing the water from draining off. This excess water can then back up underneath the roof shingles, and eventually make its way inside your home causing leaks and/or water damage.

Here are some ways of preventing ice dams on roofs this winter season:

  1. Remove all snow and ice. After every storm, use a roof rake to clear the snow away from your roof and gutter line, or cut a channel through the ice to let it drain. If you are unable to remove snow and ice from your roof, hire a licensed and insured contractor.
  2. Clean downspouts and gutters. Keep gutters clear of debris and snow, and make sure the area around your downspouts is cleared. This will allow water from the melting snow to drain off the roof and help prevent potential flooding.
  3. Insulate your attic. A well-insulated attic helps prevent the melting-and-freezing cycle that causes ice dams to form in the first place. Seal spaces where warm air can leak out, including vent pipes, exhaust fans, chimneys, attic hatches and light fixtures.
  4. Install a water-repellent membrane. When replacing your roof in the future, consider installing a water-repellent membrane underneath the shingles. This will act as a barrier between your house and any water trying to make its way inside.

For more information or to report any ice dams insurance claims, contact McGrath Insurance Group at 800-342-3859 or

*This article is written for informational purposes only and should not be construed as providing legal advice.