Ice dams: where they come from, and how to fix them

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This winter season has now become Duluth’s 9th snowiest on record. While you get those sidewalks, driveways and fire hydrants clear, don’t forget about your roof.

“Ice dams form when snow melts off your roof,” said Henry Jungbauer, a Design Specialist with DBS Residential Solutions. “And then when it gets to the edge, instead of dripping off, it freezes. And then a little bit more freezes, and a little more, until you have enough where water starts to back up behind it because it’s completely stopping that water flow.”

If you’ve driven around Duluth, you will have seen signs for ice dam removal, but will that fix the problem?

“Steaming, or melting or breaking off ice dams, the ice dam removal, really is a temporary fix, because you’re just fixing the result of a problem, you’re not fixing the problem itself,” said Jungbauer.

So if removal isn’t the answer, what should you do if you see a dam on your own home?

“We need to work with insulation of course, R-value is really important and having the right type of insulation, said Jungbauer. But also working on air-sealing to reduce how much hot air you’re actually losing, which can make the roofdeck a lot warmer when all that heat is going out.”

There are several businesses in the Twin Ports to help you tackle those ice dams, whether you’re looking for removal services or insulation.