How To Prevent Ice Dams

Ice dams can be a real problem for homes in the snowier regions of the country, especially here in Minnesota. Once an ice dam forms, it can trap water that can then damage the roof or leak back into the home and cause damage to things like ceilings, walls, insulation and other components.

The first thing to understand about preventing ice dams is that it all comes down to the temperature of the roof. When the interior of the higher portions of a roof are warmer than the exterior at the same section, it can cause snow to melt.

As the snowmelt runs down the roof, it eventually reaches a colder section near the eaves. When the water freezes near the colder eaves, an ice dam is formed.
With temperature playing an important role in the formation of ice dams, it is also the fundamental factor in ice dam prevention.

If you can keep the temperature of the roof close to as cold as it is on the inside as it is on the outside, you can effectively prevent the formation of ice dams. In this post, we are going to give you some tips for achieving this goal.


Most of your home’s heat loss is through the attic. As the heat escapes into the attic, it can warm the roof, and this will contribute to your problems with ice dams. By ensuring that you attic is sufficiently insulated against heat loss, you can take a big step toward preventing ice dams.

Vent the Attic

Attic vents can be another effective means by which ice dams can be prevented. Some heat is always going to escape into the attic, but vents will allow cold exterior air in and warm air from the interior out. This will help to prevent the roof from gaining heat and it will regulate the temperature in the attic.

Seal the Gaps

Aside from just rising up through the ceiling, there is another way that heat gets into the attic. If you find gaps where things like vents, electrical cables and pipes run into the attic, you should seal them off with a fire-stop sealant. As an additional point, if you have any heating ducts in the attic, you should make sure they are adequately insulated and that all of the joints are properly taped.

Check the Attic Access

The attic access can be another culprit when it comes to heat loss. In many cases, it isn’t much more than a board that fits in to cover the hatch. If you want to reduce heat loss and prevent ice dams, you should insulate the attic access cover and seal around the trim with weather stripping.

You might not be able to see the ice dams on your roof, but they could cause some serious damage if you do nothing to prevent them. By following some of these tips, you can prevent ice dams and the potential water damage they can cause. As an additional benefit, many of these steps will save you money on home heating by reducing heat loss into the attic.

Do you have an ice dam and need assistance in safe removal? Cinergy Homes can help! Give us a call today and we’ll come out and visit your property within 48 hours. Contact us today.