Preventing Ice Dams

The following is an excerpt from the article “Preventing Ice Dams on Businesses.” For more information please visit

To help prevent ice dams from forming:

white_contractor_iinstalling_insullationIncrease insulation above ceilings. If the ceilings are suspended non combustible mineral fiber, then install fiber glass
batt insulation. If the ceilings are drywall nailed directly to wood joists, blown insulation or fiber glass batt insulation can be added. When adding fiber glass batt insulation, if there is a paper facer, place the paper side facing down.

Create a roof preventative maintenance plan that includes periodically inspecting the roof drainage system for proper flow including drains, scuppers, gutters, and down spouts.

Self regulating heating cables can be permanently installed on gutters, downspouts, and around roof drains. Since their power is self adjusting based on the ambient temperature, they are cost effective.

The American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning, Engineers (ASHRAE) can be a valuable resource for guidance on the use of heating cables.


  • Keep all drains, scuppers, gutters, and downspouts free of debris and vegetation that may restrict proper flow.
  • Prune trees that may hang over the roof to prevent an accumulation of tree leaves and branches that may clog or slow roof drainage.
  • Improve ventilation. An option for improving roof ventilation is to install electric power vents with thermostats.

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