Westchester County is a county in New York State, just north of New York City and homes in Westchester are prone to a particular roofing problem. Winters are cold throughout the county with plenty of snow. In fact, snowfall in some parts of Westchester County have seen between 40 to 60 inches of precipitation a year. Because of heavy snowfall and cold temperatures, ice dams are a constant risk in the winter. For Westchester County ice dam prevention and removal, the only business you need to contact is L&M Roofing, the premier roofing and restoration company in the county.
WHAT IS AN ICE DAM?
An ice dam is an ice buildup on roofs of buildings which may cause water damage to the building and contents if the water leaks through the roof.
The ice on the wall is from water leaking through the roof due to an ice dam. An ice dam is a big problem with residential roofs in snowy areas of the country like Westchester County. When snow accumulates on sloped roofs and heat from the house melts the snow on the roof, the snow right against the roof melts first. This creates water that runs down the roof underneath the snow cover. When this water reaches below freezing air, ice builds up creating an ice dam, typically along the eaves. Snow that melts later cannot drain properly through the ice dam and this results in damaged ceilings, walls, roof structure and insulation damage. Also, more structural damage and physical injury can occur when the ice dam falls off or from attempts to remove the ice dam.
SIX ICE DAM WARNING SIGNS
- You see icicles forming on the edge of your roof (with or without gutters).
- Ice begins to build on the top of the gutter or the lower edge of the roof. Ice dams as little as one inch thick can cause big problems.
- Ice begins coming through the soffit vents or through the soffit itself. This is bad news.
- You see icicles forming behind the gutter.
- Ice or water appears on the siding or exterior wall surface. This is bad news.
- Ice or water appears inside the house of around the window frames. This is really bad news.
HOW TO REMOVE AN ICE DAM
- Melt the ice dam. Fill a nylon stocking with calcium chloride ice melt, and place it vertically across the ice dam so that it melts a channel through the dam. If you try this, make sure you can safely position the ice melt on your roof, and make sure to use calcium chloride, not rock salt. Rock salt will damage your roof. Also, be aware that shrubbery and plants near the gutters or downspouts may be damaged.
- Get professional help. If you cannot safely reach the roof, avoid using a ladder in snowy and icy conditions. Consider hiring a contractor, and if you live in the greater Westchester County of New York, contact L&M Roofing to remove the ice dam. L&M Roofing can rid you of your ice dam in Westchester County professionally, quickly, and cost effectively.
Westchester County Ice Dam Prevention Tips
Preventing damage from an ice dam is pretty straight forward. It’s all about being proactive. When you think you may have a problem with an ice dam and you live in Westchester County, it’s time to call L&M Roofing.
The key to Westchester County ice dam prevention is simply to keep your attic and roof cold. After a snowfall, a cold roof will have a thick blanket of snow. A warmer roof, however, will soon have clear spots where the snow has melted off, and may well have icicles hanging from the eaves.
To keep your roof cold, follow these three steps:
- Close up attic bypasses. In the average home, about one-third of the heat loss is through the ceiling into the attic. And most of that loss comes from air leaks caused by unblocked walls, gaps in drywall, and cracks around light fixtures, plumbing pipes, chimneys, and other ceiling penetrations. Air leaks can be tough to stop. You have to climb into your attic, pull or rake back insulation, and plug the leaks using foam, caulk and other methods. Low roof angles make some air leaks difficult to reach.
- Measure your attic insulation level. Building codes require about 12 to 14 in. of fiberglass or cellulose. Add more if you have less than 8 in. and have had ice dam problems in the past. Blown-in cellulose and fiberglass are usually better than hand-placed batts, because they fill more tightly around rafters, joists and other obstructions, leaving fewer gaps.
- Add roof and soffit vents. Attic ventilation draws in cold outdoor air and flushes out warmer attic air, cooling the attic and the roof in the process. The minimum ventilation area (size of the openings) should be about 1 sq. ft. of vent per 300 sq. ft. of ceiling area (attic floor area). Anyone working in a lumber store or hardware store should be able to help you figure out just how many vents you need.
- Rake the snow off your roof after a heavy snowfall. A snow rake, which is an aluminum scraper mounted at a right angle on a telescoping aluminum pole, is the simplest solution for occasional heavy snows. If you pull the snow down, it can’t melt and form an ice dam. It’s an effective, if tedious, solution, but only for single-story homes. Never use a snow rake while on a ladder.
- Install heat cables when all else fails. Heat cables are high-resistance wires that you mount on the roof edge in a zigzag pattern and plug into an outdoor GFCI receptacle. They’re ideal in spots where ice dams regularly occur and can’t be stopped any other way. One problem: You have to route the meltwater away. Otherwise it’ll refreeze in the gutters and along the roof edge. You’ll have to run the heat cable inside a downspout so the downspout doesn’t clog with ice.