What is an ice dam?
An ice dam is a wall of ice that forms at the edge of the roof, usually at the gutters or soffit. When it forms, the water then backs up behind the ice dam and creates a pool of water. This pool of water can leak into your home and cause damage to walls, ceilings, insulation, and other areas.
What causes ice dams?
Ice dams are usually caused by heavy snowfall and improper ventilation in the attic. This causes warmer areas in your attic. The snow begins to melt, even when the outside temperature is well below freezing. When the accumulated snow on your roof starts melting, it runs down your roof underneath the snow until it reaches a "colder" section like the soffits, valleys, or in gutters, and then it begins to freeze again. This process of thawing and refreezing is what causes an ice dam.
Cleaning the gutters on your home can help prevent ice dams from occurring as quickly, but they can still occur if the conditions are right. The gutters will be just as cold as it is outside and in some cases, full of frozen debris. So, even if you don't have a soffit for the water to refreeze in, the melted water will most likely refreeze when flowing into the gutters.