Common Causes of Ice dams and how to prevent them from forming on your roof in Bradford County, PA

This blog post will help homeowners in Bradford County, PA learn more about ice dams, the most common causes, and how to prevent them from forming on your roof. 

Bradford County, PA Roofing and Gutter Contractors

Common Causes of Ice dams and how to prevent them from forming on your roof in Bradford County, PA 

Ice dams are problems that can occur on your roof, and they can have a major impact on your home. If you have an ice dam, it can cause problems for both you and your home. The dam can create a significant surface area for the rain to collect, which can lead to severe floods. Additionally, the dam can reduce the flow of water from the roof, which can lead to water damage and a temporary loss of electrical power. If you have an ice dam on your roof in Bradford County, you need to take steps to prevent its effects.

What are ice dams and how do they form?

Ice dams occur when there is an accumulation of snow on a roof and the snow melts as it comes into contact with the warm air in your home. The melted snow then runs down the roof and begins to freeze at its edges. The resulting blocks of ice that come into contact with the house's eave can be large enough to prevent any water from draining away from your roof. This water then seeps back into your attic through any opening it can find and this leads to a number of problems.

What are the common causes of ice dams on your roof?

Ice dams are caused by a combination of factors including climate, roof slope, attic insulation, and snow accumulation.

Trees, bushes, evergreens, and even gutters contribute to the problem.

As the snow melts on your roof, it flows downward and meets a cold surface. The water freezes into ice and builds up along your roofline. If you're lucky enough to live in a state that doesn't get snow, ice dams can still develop due to melting from below.

Sloped Roofs

The steeper the slope of your roof, the greater chance for ice dams to form. With an incline over 20 degrees, ice dams are likely. When the temperature nears freezing at night and is above 40 degrees during the day, expect ice dams to form regardless of roof pitch. Slope alone isn't enough to account for ice dam formation; it's just one factor among many that can contribute to their formation.


If you live in an area where heavy snowfalls are common, then this is probably the biggest factor in your ice dam problem. Is the snow on top of your roof wet or dry? If it's wet, it will freeze faster and more easily than snow that has been blown off of the roof and onto the ground by the wind. Dry snow will melt as soon as it hits a colder surface such as an ice dam. 

Insufficient attic ventilation can lead to ice dams as well. 

When the air in an attic gets too hot, it rises up and out of vents or through soffits. Otherwise, warm air escapes through cracks in ceiling joists, where it meets with cold air and freezes into ice dams along attic walls.

What are the effects of ice dams on a roof?

Here's what can happen if ice dams aren't handled quickly:

Water seepage: Ice dams allow water to penetrate through the roof and into the home itself. This creates mold, rust, and rot in many areas of the home. Also, water seeping through ceilings can ruin furniture, wall coverings, and more.

Ice formation: The most obvious effect caused by ice dams is the formation of ice on your roof, which can be dangerous for you and others. The extra weight can cause roofs to collapse if they aren't properly maintained or inspected.

Tips to prevent ice dams from forming on your roof

● Remove as much snow as possible from the roof by shoveling or using a snow rake. You want to remove at least two feet of snow from your roof before the melt begins in earnest.

● Place a tarp along the edge of your roof where it meets your house. This will help divert the water away from your wall and also prevent it from melting once it reaches that point.

● Consider installing a drip edge along this perimeter. A drip edge is a metal strip that extends out past the edge of your roof and has holes in it so that any water that makes its way down to this point will be directed off the side of the house rather than dripping onto its surface or into an eave gap.

● Adjust your roof vents: To prevent ice dams, adjust your roof vents so that they're angled toward the interior of your home. This will allow warmer air near the ceiling to rise and help prevent condensation and ice accumulation on the roof. However, don't adjust your vents so much that you create a wind tunnel or a draft in your attic!

● Install vent covers: Vent covers are another way to keep warm air from escaping from your attic and causing ice dams. They allow some warm air out while still preventing cold air from entering the attic.

● Clean or replace your gutters. Dirty, clogged gutters can slow down the drainage of melted snow, which increases the risk of ice dams.

● Add insulation to your attic to keep the temperature consistent. Insulating the attic can help reduce the chance that there will be large temperature fluctuations between inside and outside of the house during extreme weather conditions. Also, make sure to keep vents clear of debris and snow in order to allow for proper ventilation throughout your attic space.

● Consider hiring a roofing contractor: Bradford County has several roofing contractors that can help you prevent the formation of ice dams on your roof. They can also help you with all your roofing needs in your home. Just ensure you hire the right roofer for your job and all the problems with ice dams will be avoided.


Ice dams can have a major impact on your home. If you have one, you need to take steps to prevent its effects. While you can do most of the things to prevent ice dams from forming, it’s advisable to seek professional help from roofers in Bradford County.