SGI is informing residents that the freeze-thaw cycle creates ideal conditions for condensation and ice damming.
Manager of Media Relations for SGI, Tyler McMurchy provides some details on the process of ice damming.
"Ice dams are caused by on and off periods of melting and freezing. So snow becomes a layer of insulation on your roof and then that warms up the air in your attic. Your warm attic then causes the snow to melt down the edge of the roof and once that melted snow is able to drain properly it will re-freeze when the temperature drops below zero, maybe at night time and then build up over time."
Throughout the winter, if this process is allowed to repeat itself the water will eventually work it's way under shingles and into the attic and then seep into insulation, causing stains on the ceiling and damaging walls and insulation.
If this issue is not taken care of immediately it can get worse and excess moisture in the home can lead to mold/mildew and cause respiratory issues.
McMurchy explains the most efficient preventative method.
"Getting that snow off your roof. We recommend that people invest in a roof rake and pull some of that snow off the roof particularly the two to four feet near the edge of the roof. If you can get some of that excess snow off, this allows that water to drain hopefully off of your roof and down the eavestrough away from the home."
Long term options to avoid the creation of ice dams include ensuring year round that gutters are free of leaves, snow and other obstructions that may prevent water that snow becomes from draining away from the home.
Attics within the home require good insulation and ventilation. Without it the heat inside the home will get out there and cause snow on the roof to melt. In addition, making sure any exhaust fans/air ducts chimney pipes that are vented into the attic are sealed well and not leaking air.
Signs of ice damming include seeing a row of icicles hanging off a gutter, which indicates the gutters are full and water has no where to go. If the icicles are dark in color, this means that the water has made it's way into the home picked up some dirt and come out.
In addition, McMurchy says that not all cold insurance policies include coverage for ice dams and most do not include coverage for issues related to condensation in your home.
Further preventative tips can be found here.