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Ice Dam Prevention

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Ice dams are a damaging and not so uncommon problem here in the Midwest. These ice dams can ruin your home by severely damaging the shingles and gutters. More severe cases can even cause building leaks that turn into deterioration, mold and other more serious problems. The good news is that ice dams are preventable. And with winter rapidly approaching, now is definitely the time to think about taking preventative measures towards harmful ice dams. Ice dams are primarily caused by heat loss in your home or building due to poor insulation that melts snow which then refreezes at the edge of the roof forming the ice dam. With proper insulation inside of your home, you can keep the roof deck cold which will prevent this chronic melting.

What Causes Excessive Heat Loss?

Generally, this is caused by 3 main factors:

  1. Lack of adequate air barrier which prevents warm air from escaping the thermal envelope
  2. Lack of adequate thermal insulation which prevents conductive heat losses
  3. Heating systems in vented attic spaces

To address conductive and air leakage heat losses, establish a thermal barrier that meets or exceeds the current building code and include an air barrier that stops warm air from escaping the thermal envelope. This can be done on the attic floor with air sealing and installation of additional insulation. Additionally, a heating system should not be located in an unconditioned attic space. The system will operate more efficiently and heat from the system will not be able to contribute to ice dams if it is located in a conditioned space. Lastly, if you have a vented attic, make sure that you have adequate ventilation area and that the ventilation is not blocked. A properly vented attic will help keep the roof surface cold to avoid ice dams, and will vent unwanted moisture to prevent building rot and mold-build up. Please contact us if you’d like a free assessment of your current insulation setup.

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