With the drop in temperatures, Long Island is really in the "grip" of winter!
If you haven’t done so already, you should make sure that your gutters are free of leaves to prevent leaks and other water damage in your house.
Ice dams are the accumulation of ice at the roof edge. Ice dams are formed when heat build-up in the attic warms the roof and causes snow to melt, even when outside temperatures are still below freezing. Water from the melting snow runs down the roof underneath the snow and can not drain off of the roof. The water then refreezes when it reaches a colder part of the roof, such as the roof overhang or a gutter. As this melting-freezing cycle continues, the size of the dam can increase and water from additional melting snow can not drain properly. Instead of draining off the roof, the trapped water can back up into the shingles and can leak into the attic, causing structural damage to your home.
Keeping your gutters free of leaves and other debris will help melting snow to flow unobstructed. Using "roof rakes" to pull off snow from the roof while standing on the ground will also reduce the chances of ice dams from forming. While keeping your gutters clear and reducing the amount of snow on your roof can help, ultimately you need to evaluate your attic ventilation and attic floor insulation since it is the build up of attic heat that creates the ice dam problem. Proper attic ventilation (1 square foot of vent for every 150 feet of attic floor area) reduces the build up of warm air in the attic and proper insulation (R-30 or R-38 value, if in northern climates) reduces the amount of heat that escapes from your home into the attic.
Some signs of ice dam water leakage include ice forming inside roof overhangs, water leaking around window frames, ice along siding and water leaking around the vent pipe. Brown, discolored spots on a drywall ceiling can indicate a water leak. If you do have an ice dam problem, hire a professional roofing contractor to have the ice removed for your own safety and to prevent damage to your roof.