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February 3, 2015
Ice dams are as predictable as the seasons during our cold, snowy Midwestern Winters. Homeowners are often oblivious to the damage that these large waves of ice can do until water starts intruding into the home. Although some ice damming is not unusual, excessive ice damming needs to be addressed before significant damage can occur. The solution to this problem requires an understanding of the underlying causes.
Ice dams are created when significant snowpacks on the roof are melted from the bottom up. The melting is facilitated by heat buildup from within the attic space or in some cases, the space between the slope ceilings and the roof sheating above. As the snow is melted it runs down the roof line until it hits the colder shingles directly above the soffit and then refreezes. Over time this ice along the soffit builds up pushing the gutter away from the roof. Often times it backs up the roof and the water underneath will work its way underneath the shingles and then into the home. Huge ice cycles hanging from the edge of the roof are often the most visible symptom of the problem.
So the question becomes what can be done to address this problem and avoid the potential it has for bringing dirty water into the home and damaging the walls and ceiling in the process. Some homeowners have taken to installing heating wires along the roof edge to keep the ice from building up. This can help, but this is attacking the sympton and ignoring the source of the problem which is the excessive snow melt above.
In most cases addressing the ice damming problem is best achieved by improving the air sealing and attic insulation in the attics and/or rafters below. Cutting off the source of warm air in that space not only addresses the problem with the ice dams, but it also provides for a more comfortable and energy efficient home. Coupled with adequate attic ventilation to allow heat that does make its way into the attic to dissipate, ice dams and the damage that they bring can become a thing of the past. For more information as to how Energy360 Solutions can address your problems with ice dams and other related problems, feel free to contact us at 630-422-1941.