The formation of ice dams on the edges of your home's roof not only cause damage to your shingles or other roofing material and the underlayer of roof decking, but they can also cause leaks into your home's interior and exterior walls and framing, and cause mold and mildew growth and the risk of allergies and asthma from the growth. Water leaks through your home's roof can also soak into and damage fiberglass batting insulation to cause a reduction in your home insulation and allow heat loss. It is best to stop ice dam formation than to try to combat the problem after it has already formed on your roof, so here are two preventative steps you can take to stop the formation of ice dams.
Seal and Insulate Your Attic
Ice dams form on your roof when heat from your home enters your attic to warm the roof and melt the snow. Then, the melted snow runs down your warm roof and freezes once it reaches the cold eaves of your roof. If you can keep your attic and roof cold, you won't have to worry about using electrical wires to heat the ice dams from the edges of your roof or hire a professional to spray heated water onto your roof to remove the ice dams. It is recommended to keep the underside of your roof decking 30 degrees F or cooler to prevent ice dams from forming.
First, make sure your attic is sealed off from the rooms below and properly insulated to keep all heat from entering the attic. Check for heat loss through any attic floor vents, air ducts, electrical openings, or other cracks or openings. If you have access to an infrared thermometer gun or a FLIR camera, you can use either to locate any patches of heat escaping from your home into the attic. You can also turn on the lights inside your home and enter your dark attic to look for patches of light entering through cracks and openings.
Then, when you locate any areas where heat is escaping into your attic, use spray foam insulation and caulk to close all gaps and openings. Install weatherstripping around any access hatches to seal them more efficiently.
Next, you should check your attic insulation to make sure it is the appropriate rating for your climate. As a general rule of thumb, if your attic has only eight inches or less of insulation and you have dealt with ice dam formation previously, you should add more insulation. Then, if your attic insulation is rolled batting insulation, you may want to upgrade to a blown fiberglass or cellulose insulation, as these types of insulation can reach all corners and cracks better than a rolled batting insulation.
If you have experience installing insulation, you can add extra or install new insulation. Otherwise, it may be beneficial to hire a professional to install the insulation so it is completed properly.
Install Proper Attic Ventilation
The second way to prevent ice dam formation is by ensuring your attic has enough ventilation to allow any heat to escape and cold air to enter your attic during winter. This method is to ensure the air temperature inside your attic remains as close to the outdoor temperature as possible. Your home should already have some type of vents installed on the soffit, gable ends, and along the ridges of your home's roof, but it may not be enough.
You can hire a roofing professional to inspect your roof to make sure it has the proper amount of ventilation for its size. Measure the square foot area of your attic floor and you will need one square foot of ventilation for every 300 square feet of attic floor area. This can equate to a vent sized approximately 8 by 16 inches in the soffit of your roof overhang and positioned between every-other attic rafter. A roofing professional can install additional vents and make sure they are sealed properly to prevent moisture leaking down through your roof.
Use these two prevention steps to help keep your roof ice dam-free. For more information, contact a business such as Affordable Roofing & Gutters.Share