Ice dams occur when your home gutters fill up with ice. Water then runs off the roof and becomes trapped by the dam. The water eventually backs up the roof, travels under the shingles, and leaks into the house and extensive water damage can occur. Ice dams may seem harmless at first, but they are known to cause thousands of dollars in roof leaks, structural damages and repairs of your home.
By adding insulation to your attic, your homes heat will remain in the lower floors or main portion of the home, and not be lost through the roof. In states with frequent cold weather temperatures, attic insulation should be at least 12 inches deep. Make sure this insulation is installed correctly and has no gaps between spaces. Check and make sure the attic heating ducts are as far as possible from the roof.
Make sure all penetrations through your ceilings are sealed and insulated. Fans, plumbing vents, and recess ceiling cans are some of the biggest culprits in allowing warm air to get into the attic.
If you were to pressurize your home with hot air, imagine all of the places the air would escape into the attic. For optimal ice dam prevention, be sure to insulate and seal them all.
Evaluate your attics ventilation system and find inlet and outlet vents and determine if these are adequate. If not, you should consider installing a continuous soffit and ridge ventilation system, that will do the work for you with no fans or wires. Proper ventilation will allow for the movement of air through the roof system. This reduces the amount of warm air that builds up in the attic or rafter space and thus reduces the melting snow that causes ice dams.
If you have rooms with vaulted ceilings try to keep them a bit cooler than the rest of the rooms if possible, especially if these spaces are seldom used. The easiest ice dam prevention technique is to shut off the heating supplies and returns if you have a forced air system.
Before you decide to chip away at an ice dam yourself, know that it’s not recommended and best left to a professional. Forcibly dislodging chunks of ice could easily damage your roof and gutters, worsening your leakage problem. Your best strategy to eliminate an ice dam is to sit it out and wait for the ice to melt away.
For more information on ice prevention please visit Rainbowintl.com