Knowing how to identify an ice dam and how to prevent them from happening are key to protecting your roof and home from potential damage during the snowy, winter months.
What is an Ice Dam?
An ice dam is a ridge of ice that forms at the edge of a roof. It prevents melting snow from draining off the roof into the gutters and off the edges. The water that backs up behind the dam can leak into a home and cause damage to walls, ceilings, insulation, and other areas.
How do you know if you have an Ice Dam?
- Increasing Ventilation
A poorly constructed attic or roof assembly can lead to excessive energy losses, ice dams, mold, rot, and lots of unnecessary repairs and problems. The reasoning behind roof venting varies depending on climate, in Wisconsin, a builder would need to take an array of climates into consideration as we have both cold and hot weather at times. For the purposes of this article, we are only speaking about the cold weather reasonings. In the cold the primary purpose of ventilation is to maintain a cold roof temperature to avoid ice dams created by melting snow and to vent any moisture that moves from the conditioned living space to the attic.
- Adding Insulation
Adding insulation on the attic floor and sides help to keep the heat where it belongs, inside of the house. You should check the R-rating of the products that you're using and try to get the highest R-rating possible. You will want to learn about the differences in the types of insulation and find the one that works best for your home and budget. An insulation expert from S & E Insulation can help you with that decision by providing you with the most up to date insulation on new insulation products.
- Sealing Air Leaks
There are many places on your roof and home that need to be sealed to prevent leaks and air pockets. Be sure that areas such as flash around chimneys, ducts, electrical cables and vent pipes, exhaust to the outside from kitchen and bathrooms and any sky lights need to be checked and sealed.
- Getting a professional audit done
Not everyone is able to find the air pockets or feels comfortable getting on top of the roof and climbing into the attic to check for leaks and moisture, this is where a professional roof and insulation audit is required. A quality roofing or insulation company such as Allrite Home & Remodeling or S & E Insulation , will take the time to find your air leaks and moisture problems to insure a winter with out ice dam formation on your roof.