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Why Ice Dams are Dangerous for Your Chimney

chimney ice dam, hartford ct Even without the occasional polar vortex, wintertime in Connecticut is tough on chimneys. Hazards include ice dams, which are destructive occurrences typically caused by heat rising through inadequately insulated attics. Icicles hanging down from your eaves provide a hint that ice dams may have formed around your gutters and/or your chimney. Learn more about ice dams below.

How do Ice Dams Form?

Ice dams can form around chimneys for various reasons, and sloped rooftops are particularly at risk. Snow can melt on your roof if warmth from inside the home and fireplace reaches the exterior chimney area. The metal flashing is often a component of the chimney linked to ice dams. The formation of ice caused by the heat around the chimney can get between the flashing in the chimney.

What Makes Ice Dams a Hazard to Chimneys?

When the melted snow re-freezes, it expands, which causes the flashing to further separate from the bricks. Damaged flashing can result in moisture entering the masonry system, and it is one of the leading causes of chimney leaks. The purpose of flashing is to create a watertight seal between the roof and the chimney. If the flashing is the source of chimney leaks, damage is also done to the roof structure.

Ultimately, ice dams can cause moisture to infiltrate chimney systems, which is a destructive process. The moisture inside bricks expands and contracts, causing movement that breaks down the structure of the bricks. Masonry with this type of damage must be replaced. Otherwise, the chimney will eventually lean and could collapse.

Ice Dams, Roofs, and Icicles

If icicles have formed around your house, it is safe to assume that ice dams may be on your roof. Ice dams can affect the chimney, and they can also damage the gutters. The melted snow, for instance, may fill the gutter with water, spill over the sides, and then refreeze. The icicles themselves are a hazard because they can fall and injure someone.

chimney flashing, rocky hill ctUnfortunately for many homeowners, ice dams are also the cause of roof damage that can be costly to fix. It is often the association with chimney flashing that leads to roof damage. When the flashing does not do the job of keeping out moisture, the destruction caused by ice dams can also affect the roof.

Tips to Prevent Ice Dams

Because the root cause of ice dams is heat on the roof that melts the snow and then refreezes it, addressing the leakage of heat is a good preventative measure. Many homeowners have added additional insulation to their attics in order to stop the problem of ice dams.

Routine chimney maintenance that includes checking the flashing and any other possible chimney leaks is also a good way to help prevent damage caused by ice dams.

Certified Chimney Experts at Northeastern Chimney

The best way to address chimney concerns is to contact chimney experts certified by the Chimney Safety Institute of America  (CSIA). At Northeastern Chimney, we have built our decades of success on a commitment to customer service and customer satisfaction. Contact us for any chimney services you may need or any chimney concerns you may have. If icicles are hanging from your roof, ice dams may be damaging the chimney. Don’t Worry! We can help! Call us at 860-233-5770 today.


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