After the last snow event in Lees Summit, I went out into the neighborhood and snapped some pictures. This picture shows a different solution to ice dams than I discussed previously, albeit not a solution your roofing contractor would probably recommend.
Recall earlier that I explained that ice dams form when snow melts over the heated area of your house, and re-freezes over the eaves (the edge of the roof that overhangs the wall)? This house provides a perfect illustration of this phenomenon as the roof is completely free of snow until you get to the eaves. And yet there is no ice dam or icicles forming, why is that and perhaps this is a solution that would work for me as well?
Obviously the snow melted on the roof, but the snow melted rapid enough and that provided sufficient water flow to prevent re-freezing when the melted snow hit the cold roof over the eaves. That is a lot of heat that is being lost into the framing space under their roof to melt the snow that fast. The water from the snowmelt was flowing like a relative torrent coming off that roof, and there was no chance that it would re-freeze even though the area of the roof that overhangs the wall was cold. Had the snowmelt and resulting water flow been slower, there was significant potential for ice dam to form.
While this homeowner doesn’t suffer from ice dam problems, the thought of the cost of their utility bill makes me shudder. If you have this sort of pattern of snow melt, your roofing contractor will probably want to anticipate that the heat loss problem might be solved during the life of the roof and recommend other solutions to prevent or minimize ice dams.
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