Ice dams are a wintertime hazard that residents of the Northeast should be well aware of. They can cause substantial damage to gutters, walls and roofs, and can even damage the attic and other interior spaces in your home.
How Does an Ice Dam Form?
During especially cold weather, ice dams can form on your home’s roof, though they’re not usually a hazard during moderate winter weather. They form when snow falling on the roof melts and drains toward the eaves and rain gutters, where the roof meets the walls of the home.
However, in the case of many homes, the section of roof near the eaves tends to be colder, since there’s less warmth in the tight attic space underneath that part of the roof. As a result, the melted snow refreezes before it can drain off. As time passes, more and more ice forms, and you get an ice dam. Melted snow backs up behind the ice dam, and eventually may find its way through shingles and roofing down into your attic, where it can cause further damage to building materials and household belongings.
How to Prevent Ice Dams
Employing a proper insulation, ventilation and air sealing in the attic will minimize the risk of an ice dam forming on your home’s roof. The idea is to keep the warmth that collects in the attic from heating the roof, and melting the snow that collects there. Proper ventilation in the attic, using ridge vents coupled with continuous soffit vents, will permit cooler air to circulate through the attic.
Air sealing between the living spaces and attic also will help reduce the chance of ice dams forming on the roof. Household warmth has a natural tendency to rise into the attic, so if the attic floor and hatch are well sealed, more heat will stay in your living spaces (which also will ease the workload on your heating system and save money on energy).
Our goal is to help educate our customers in Monmouth County, New Jersey and surrounding areas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).
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