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Fire & Water - Cleanup & Restoration

Ice Dams are Common in Dearborn and Dearborn Heights

1/19/2017 (Permalink)

A visual aid for understanding ice dams.

Ice dams are sneaky. Unless you are a frequent visitor to your Dearborn or Dearborn Heights attic you may not even know they are forming on your home. Temperatures above freezing in your attic will likely cause snow on the roof to melt. The melted snow refreezes when it reaches the colder eaves causing it to form a dam behind which water pools. The pooling water can back up under your roofing, leaking into your attic and along the interior walls causing wood rot and mold growth.

Mold is a great concern with ice dams. Preventing ice dams from forming can keep your family safe from potentially dangerous mold growth and costly repairs.


Here are a few simple steps that can help prevent ice dams and condensation in your attic:

  • Always discharge bathroom and kitchen exhaust fans, and dryer vents, outside. Never into the attic. Even a properly ventilated attic cannot tolerate an exhaust fan pumping warm moist air directly into it.
  • Proper attic ventilation is key to keeping the attic cool, while adequate insulation is key to keeping your house warm. Keep soffit vents free from obstructions to allow the cool outside air into the attic space to replace the warmer attic air that flows outside ridge and roof vents. This air exchange will keep the attic cool and free of moisture build-up.
  • Consult a professional for the best way to avoid ice dams and water damage in your home.

Does and Don’ts

  • Be certain vents are not blocked by attic insulation nor covered by any finishes outside the home.
  • Verify all openings, access panels, and electrical fixtures are properly sealed and insulated while maintaining manufacturer’s required clearances.
  • Check all exhaust fans and dryer vents are discharging outside.
  • Keep gutters clear of debris.
  • Do not “chip away” the ice of an ice dam. This can lead to shingle damage.
  • Do not install mechanical equipment or water heaters in attics. This is a fire hazard and will increase the temperature in your attic.
  • Do not use salt or calcium chloride to melt snow on a roof. These corrosive chemicals can damage metal gutters, downspouts, and flashing as well as nearby grass and plants.

If an ice dam forms on your house, consult a roofing professional. If you suspect mold has grown anywhere in you home, call your neighbors at SERVPRO® of Dearborn. Our highly trained technicians are available 24/7 to help restore the cleanliness and safety of your house.

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