Have you ever gone outside in the middle of winter and compared your roof to your neighbor’s? You might notice, with a little shock, that you have mounds of ice and icicles forming on your roofline while your neighbors’ roofs are empty save for a little snow.
We get this question a lot—why is there ice on my roof? There are a few causes, and we are here to say that the sooner you figure out your ice problem, the better.
Ice is Bad News for Several Reasons
What’s wrong with a little ice? It’s winter, so ice is expected, right? The truth is that ice has no business on your roof or gutters for a few simple reasons:
- Accumulated ice is heavy and will put undue wear and tear on your roof and gutters
- Large patches of ice are known as “ice dams” and will clog your gutters and keep melting snow from draining away, making your ice problem worse and worse
- It’s best to keep excess water away from your roof, as it will eventually find its way indoors
- Falling ice is dangerous
Why Ice Can Form on Your Roof & Gutters
The big question is why. Why do I have big patches of ice on my roof when my neighbors do not? There are a few reasons ice can suddenly become a problem for you:
- You forgot to clean fall leaves out of your gutters, giving that melted snow nowhere to go, so it freezes in and around your gutters and roof
- The slope of your roof isn’t sufficient to drain snowmelt before it freezes into ice
- You have an insulation problem, creating warm spots on your roof where snow will melt too quickly, then turn into ice as it reaches colder areas on its way to your gutters
- Your downspouts are full of ice, effectively clogging them
Here’s How to Avoid a Frozen Roof
Luckily, there are a few simple things you can do to ensure you’re not the victim of an ice dam, otherwise known as excessive ice on your roof. Here’s what we suggest:
- Clean your gutters before winter—they’ll be filled with fallen leaves, pine straw, and other debris by late October
- If you can, shovel snow off your roof with one of those extendable roof rakes and let the rest of it melt
- Have us inspect your roof to ensure it’s sloped and insulated properly
- Consider investing in a de-icing cable system that you can install on your roof to melt snow and ice quickly
- Give your downspouts a light shake to free them of ice accumulation
Consider a Metal Roof in the Future
As a bonus tip, we thought we’d suggest a metal roof. If you look around your neighborhood, you might even notice that many of your neighbors have already invested in one. Metal roofs last much longer than the regular shingled variety, but they’re also great at allowing snow to slide away thanks to their smooth, metal service.
With a metal roof, you can watch entire swaths of snow slide off of your roof even after the worst blizzard—no heat source and no raking needed.