Ice dams are one of the most feared roofing problems in cold climates. Ice dams form when an attic hotspot causes snow on the roof to melt and roll down to the eaves, where it refreezes and creates a blockage. This freezing water eventually backs up into the shingles and then into the attic itself. Once an ice dam has formed, fixing the problem can be difficult and the damage can be extensive. That's why catching an ice dam early is an important part of maintaining your roof in a cold weather climate. This winter, be watchful for these signs of an ice dam. 

Uneven Snow Distribution

For reasons already mentioned, uneven snow distribution on the roof is one of the signs of an ice dam. The next time it snows, pay attention to the way the snow melts on your roof. Watch for patches of melted snow paired next to big piles of unmelted snow. 


Icicles are one of the red-flag warnings that a home has an ice dam. Be on the lookout for icicles hanging from the eaves, soffits and gutters of your home. Icicles may also form on the attic vents, near exterior doors and door frames, and even on the exterior walls of your house. 

Unexplained Ceiling or Wall Leaks

An unexplained ceiling leak can come from many sources, including pipe leaks and bad ventilation. Still, a ceiling leak is often the result when an ice dam forms. Ice dams can also cause wall leaks to form. If you notice an unexplained leak in your house, investigate in the attic. Look for water damage on the underside of the roof, and unexplained pools of moisture that can't be linked back to a leaky pipe. 

Streams of Water Dripping Down the Exterior Walls

Streams of water running down the exterior walls may be coming from the attic, originating with the ice dam. If you notice water running down the outside walls of your home, check the corresponding interior walls for water damage or moisture. 

If you believe your home has an ice dam, roof repair will almost certainly be necessary and should be handled right away to prevent further damage. Act quickly to contact a professional roofing company, like Palmer Roofing, in your area. With appropriate insulation installation, shingle repair and sheath repair, and the addition of a vent or two in your attic, you may be able to reverse the effects of the ice dam.