Solutions for Ice Dams
Find Out Where YOUR Home is Losing Energy:
You have ice dams on your home that can damage the roof and cause water leaks inside, which can cause indoor air quality issues.
Ice dams are characterized by ice hanging off the edges of your roof, often with icicles hanging down. Ice dams generally happen when a large snowfall is followed by several days with temperatures below freezing. When the warm air from your home seeps into the attic, it rises up and heats the roof. The snow on the roof melts and the water drains down the roof to the cold overhang, where it freezes. The freezing of the water at the edges of the roof creates the ice dam and icicles.
- Do not go up on your roof to try and solve the problem. This is very dangerous and could cause serious injury. Also, don't try to break the ice while standing below. It can damage the roof and cause injury from falling ice and debris.
- Fixing leaks in the roof won't prevent ice dams in the future.
- To solve the problem (and save on your energy bills):
- Seal air leaks between your living space and the attic, to prevent warm air from rising into the attic and to the roof.
- Seal leaky air ducts in your attic to prevent the warm air from escaping into your attic.
- After sealing all air leaks, add more insulation to your attic. Your insulation contractor will be able to advise you on the best type and the amount of insulation you need.
- Make sure there's sufficient ventilation in the attic so that any warm air isn't trapped in the attic and heating up the roof. Make sure there's no insulation blocking the vents.
- Have an energy assessment completed on your home, to evaluate your home's performance, show you exactly how to solve the ice dam problem, and provide a customized list of ways to increase your comfort and save energy.
- Clean out your gutters before the first snowfall to help prevent ice build-up.
Home Energy Problems & Solutions:
- Reduce High Energy Bills Energy Efficiency, Home Improvement Tools
- Drafty Rooms Air sealing, Heating and Cooling Contractor
- Peeling Paint Control moisture, Building Science Specialist
- Mold, Mildew or Musty Odors Reducing Indoor Humidity
- Dust Sealing air leaks, Change Filters
- Hot or Cold Rooms Room over a garage, ENERGY STAR ceiling fans
- Damp Basement Stop water leaks, Ventilation Fans
- Moisture on Windows Control Moisture, ENERGY STAR Labeled Windows
- Dry Indoor Air in Winter Home Sealing, Diagnostic Equipment
- Cold Floors in Winter Basement floor, Floor over a crawlspace
- Ice Dams Roofing Contractor, Diagnostic Equipment
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Your home energy audit proved to be very informative and helpful. I was not aware of the updraft created inside our walls because of the balloon framing construction. You said that that can cause heat to be pulled out of the house with the draft going up inside the walls and should be re-mediated. You also said that the attic insulation was insufficient and that fiberglass batts can leave spaces for around the edges causing heat loss and that it should have blown in insulation on top of what was there to seal the whole attic and increase the r factor. After going over your findings and telling me how you would fix the problems you told me how I could do it myself with stuff from the Home Center and for a quarter of the cost. Well, I did. I went into the basement and filled the bottom of the wall joist with unfaced insulation where they set on the sill plate. I then cut one inch foam board the size for each space and set it in and the sealed the edges of that with expanding foam as well as the sill plate to the foundation. I also sealed the sill plate to the foundation where the joist ran along it, as well as the top of those joist where it made contact with the subflooring. Next I went to the home center and rented their blown insulation machine and got ten bales of the insulation. I filled the attic on top of the batt insulation with about six inches giving another r-19 factor on top of the r-19 that was there. You said that the blown in would also help seal the heat loss around the edges of the batt. The work in the basement cost $144.00 and the work in the attic cost $328.00. After the 30% federal energy tax credit it will end up costing me about $330.00, which you said I should recover in savings in the first year. Thank You for all your advice and expertise. You made me aware of things I should consider and did.