Updated: May 23
You may not think that ice dam up on your roof is a serious problem, but it is. If allowed to remain, the melting and refreezing ice can tear holes in your roof and destroy your gutters, allowing water to leak into your home. Our readers weighed in on how ice dam issues can quickly lead to health issues.
Matthias Alleckna, Energy Analyst at EnergyRates.ca.
Ice Damming Can Lead to Moisture Buildup and Mold
Ice damming points to an infrastructural problem in your roof/attic's insulation. Another symptom is mold. So, where you see damming, mold may be soon to follow.
Ice dams occur when warm air from inside, escapes through breaches in the roof. This causes the snow on top to melt, refreezing along the eaves of the house.
These breaches from which warm air can escape are perfect for moisture to seep in and develop mold. It can also bring in allergens from outside, exacerbating respiratory problems.
Roof Leaks and Interior Warm Air a Perfect Recipe for Mold
We have always had a lot of customers with attic mold problems caused by ice dams here in Ottawa. Snow and ice melt from a customer’s roof because of the heat within their home. The water runs down and refreezes, causing an ice dam. This prevents water from draining properly, and water under the dam seeps into the home.
Couple this with the warmth inside your home, and you have a perfect place for mold to grow in the middle of winter. Mold caused by ice dams may cause lung irritation and hay fever-like symptoms, such as sneezing, runny nose, red eyes, and skin rashes. We have had many customers who are particularly sensitive to it, and these symptoms may lead to respiratory infections.
Charles Leduc, Chief Operations Officer at Mold Busters.
Sean Chapman is a professional carpenter with over 10 years of experience. He's also a self-taught web designer, and founder and editor-in-chief of his Tools’n’Goods, tool and machinery review blog.
Mold and Mildew Growth Can Happen Quickly
Ice dams can let the water break through the roofing if you don’t prevent them or remove them in time. As a result, the water that enters your home can trigger mold and mildew growth. The whole process is that easy!
Mold and mildew caused by the water from ice dams on your roofing can lead to respiratory problems, such as sneezing and stuffy nose, as well as skin irritation and severe asthma attacks. Some types of molds may expose the household to mycotoxins (toxic substances from fungus). There are no proofs of hazard from mycotoxins, but sensitive people may experience a wide range of symptoms, including coughing, sneezing, all sorts of irritations, nosebleeds, sore throat, aches, and so on.
Ice Dams Lead to Leaks, Leaks Lead to Mold
Ice dams and mold are related simply because the water damage caused by ice dams can cause it to grow and spread. Ice dams cause water to leak into your home, which introduces the moisture that's required for mold to grow.
The possible health effects from ice dams include allergies, headaches, rashes, and coughing. But, the ice dams themselves don't cause these health problems - the mold that they cause to grow is what does.
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