During the winter in a state like Utah, which experiences significant snow and ice conditions, one risk home and building owners have to watch out for is the formation of ice dams on their shingles, gutters and related areas. Ice dams, which describe snow and ice collecting at the edge of the roof, can lead to everything from water damage to mold formation, structural deterioration, safety risks and wildly expensive repairs.

At Renaissance Asphalt Services, we’re here to help. We provide ice dam removal services as part of our winter program that also includes snow removal, helping you limit these concerns before they become extensive and risk damage or additional costs. In this two-part blog, we’ll go over the primary causes of ice dam formation, how you can set up your home or building to resist ice dams, plus how we’ll assist you in cases where ice dams have already formed and need to be removed.

Heat Loss Causes

The primary cause of ice dams on any building type is heat loss. This refers to a situation where the building in question is giving off too much interior heat, whether due to an air leak, poor insulation or some related cause.

This heat moves from the building itself upward, melting snow that’s present on the roof after a recent storm. But when the temperatures reach freezing level again, possibly later that same night, the melted snow re-freezes at the edge of the roof, causing the ice dam.

Our subsequent sections in part one will go over some general tips to prevent heat loss in your home or building:

Heating System Location

If possible, it’s best for your heating system to be located somewhere other than the attic space, if one is present in your home. For starters, this will generally lead to a more efficient system overall, which all homeowners should want.

In addition, heat from the system won’t contribute to ice dams via heat loss. Heating equipment and ductwork should all be located in conditioned space, with proper sealing to ensure they do not leak any hot air.

Thermal Barrier

Generally speaking, you want to establish a thermal barrier that stops warm air from escaping any lower areas. There are building codes that define minimum requirements for such barriers – we recommend meeting and even exceeding them if possible. The best tool here is insulation, which when properly sealed provides great protection from heat loss.


If you have a vented attic space, ensure the ventilation is updated and not blocked at any time. Proper ventilation keeps the roof cold during winter, avoiding the risk of ice dams. It will vent unwanted moisture to prevent rot and mold risks, as well.

For more on preventing heat loss and related ice dam risks, or to learn about any of our winter services or asphalt solutions, speak to the staff at Renaissance Asphalt Services today.