Skip to main content

Defending against ice dam damage

  • Author:
  • Updated:

It's that time of year again when snow and ice buildup on rooftops can cause major water damage inside your home.

The recent snowfall and extreme temperature shifts create ideal conditions for ice dam formation. Earlier this month, temperatures in northern Minnesota fluctuated 50 degrees in one day.

During frigid temperatures, many homeowners cranked up the heat, sending warm air to the attic and melting snow on the roof.

The moisture then travels down to the roof's edge, away from the heat, where it freezes, creating an ice dam.

The dam prevents remaining water from going anywhere, leaving it to seep ceilings and wall cavities.

Image: The Ice Dam Company

For one St. Louis Park homeowner, water had come through her the walls and ceilings of her living room and son's bedroom.

"I kind of knew it was ice dams," Julie Berg told WCCO.

Other signs of an ice dam problem are peeling paint, stains around windows and doors and drooping drywall. Attic insulation may also become soggy, welcoming in mold and mildew. Large icicles grow on eaves of the roof, which can also cause damage to shingles and gutters.

Berg is certainly not alone.

The Ice Dam Removal Guys, a Minneapolis-based company, told the television station they've been putting in extra hours to meet the increase in business. The company uses steam to remove the ice buildup.

So, how can you prevent ice dams?

The Ice Dam Guys say clearing snow from your roof will help.

“The less snow that you have up there, the less melting that can take place, better off you are,” Ice dam remover Randy Schmit told WCCO.

According to a company blog, the Ice Dam Guys recommend purchasing a roof rake.

Schmit also suggests getting an energy audit to make sure heat isn't escaping through light fixtures, bathrooms fans or any other bypasses to the attic, making melting snow on the roof more likely.

Also, proper insulation will also keep the warm air inside.

“If you get a fresh snow and you look on a roof line and everybody's houses around has snow on the roof and yours doesn’t that's an indicator that there's improper insulation,” Indianapolis roofer Tim Williams told WISH.

Reuben Saltzman, a Star Tribune's home improvement blogger, has several images of the most common attic air leaks, especially in older homes.


Next Up

Screen Shot 2022-08-07 at 11.43.15 AM

Deputies fatally shoot man in Wright County

Police claim the man, who had allegedly been experiencing a mental health crisis, was armed with a knife.

Ambulance hospital emergency

17-year-old killed in northern Minnesota crash Saturday

The other drive involved in the crash, a 75-year-old man, sustained life-threatening injuries.


Alcohol a factor as driver rolls ATV into corn field, injuring 3

The crash occurred in Lake Lillian Saturday night.

Minneapolis police

Man dies after being found shot at Minneapolis' 38th and Chicago

Responders were called to the scene early Sunday morning.

Screen Shot 2022-08-07 at 6.34.12 AM

7 children arrested after 'disturbance' at Cabela's, escape in stolen vehicle

Employees called police saying the children were stealing goods from the store.

Screen Shot 2022-08-06 at 6.16.49 PM

Fire sparks evacuation from apartment building, man arrested for arson

Police and fire crews responded to the fire just before 9 a.m. Saturday.

Flickr - utility pole power line

Morning storms cause power outages, ensuing problems in Eagan

There have been reports of disabled traffic lights and issues at local businesses.

kim crockett facebook sos

GOP nominee questions if those with disabilities, non-English speakers should be able to vote

Crockett made the comments in a 2020 radio interview following a ruling from the Minnesota Supreme Court.


Jury: MN pharmacist did not violate woman's rights by refusing her morning-after pill

Gender Justice, the advocacy group that brought about the lawsuit, says it will appeal the decision.

Screen Shot 2021-10-04 at 3.03.13 PM

Revival to close its original Minneapolis restaurant

Don't worry – it's bringing the chicken to its nearby BBQ joint.