What is an “Ice Dam?”

An ice dam is a ridge of ice that forms and continues to grow along a roof’s edge when three simple conditions coexist:

  1. Snow accumulates on a roof.
  2. Solar gain and interior building heat melt the snow. The melt water runs down the roof surface under the insulating blanket of snow.
  3. Sub-freezing outdoor temperatures cause the melt water to re-freeze at the roof’s edge, thus causing the ice dam and icicle formations.

Without Summit Ice Melt Systems, the ice continues to grow and build up the roof.

Ice dams and icicles pose significant threats:

  • When left unabated, ice dams will continue to grow up to the building’s wall line. A pool of standing water develops behind the dam above the wall line. It can then leak into the interior and cause water damage and dry rot.
  • Ice is very, very heavy. Ice formations stress buildings and overhangs, and damage roofing and underlying structures.
  • Ice formations and icicles eventually and unpredictably fall off roofs and damage decks, railings, vehicles, propane tanks, and break windows.  Worse yet, falling ice can cause personal injuries and death.

Click here to see a gallery of how and where ice dams form

Anatomy of an Ice Dam900x800