Stop Ice Dams This Year, And Circumvent Unnecessary Damage
The ice dams that form along the eaves on your roof are symptomatic of attic problems. You can stop ice dams by attending to the problems that create the dams. When snow melts on a roof, it trickles down and if it hits a spot where the temperature is below 32 degrees Fahrenheit, it freezes before it evaporates. Once a layer of ice has formed, subsequent melting and freezing increases the size of the ice dam. When the temperatures warm, the ice melts and the water can seep into your home, creating water damage.
Melting snow on your roof indicates that you probably have air leaks in your attic between the attic floor and ceiling of your home. Inadequate insulation contributes, as do any venting pipes from kitchen or bathroom fans. When the pipes terminate inside the attic or do not rise far enough above the roof, they create warm conditions that melt snow. You can stop ice dams by:
- Inspecting the insulation in your attic. Verify that the insulation is evenly placed and no gaps exist where the warm temperatures in the house are entering the attic. You may also need more insulation throughout the attic to stop ice dams if the insulation is too thin to keep the warm temperatures from radiating through the ceiling.
- Looking over any ductwork that runs through your attic. Leaking ducts can send a lot of heated air into the space that not only warms your roof, but drives up your heating bill. If the ducts are difficult to examine, contact an HVAC company that can inspect and repair the ducts.
- Checking for light fixtures that intrude through the ceiling into the attic. If you have recessed can lighting in the ceiling, the fixtures may not have insulation around or over them. Place insulation over the canisters in the attic to reduce warm air infiltration.
- Extending the vent pipes higher through the roof.
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Image Credit: Bert Heymans