Ice Dam Dangers
Ice Dam Dangers
Although ice dams can be beautiful, they also cause a potential danger. Forming icicles can actually be a sign of an ice dam, especially when the temperature’s outside are below freezing. An ice dam forms when there is melting snow on the roof caused by rising heat from inside the home, warming the roof’s surface. As the snow melts, the edge of the roof collects all this water and begins to freeze because of the below freezing temperature outside. Some of the water will be held back by the dam and stay liquid. Eventually, water can find its way through cracks even travel 5 to 10 feet back up into shingles. This could result in water seeping in the ceilings of your home and causing interior damage.
Signs of interior water damage are:
- Rust on drywall fasteners,
- Peeling paint,
- Sagging drywall,
- And stains around windows and doors.
However, ice dams can be prevented keeping you roof cold in the following ways:
- Close up attic bypasses
In the average home, about one-third of the heat loss is through the ceiling into the attic and most of that loss comes from air leaks caused by unblocked walls, gaps in drywall, and cracks around light fixtures, plumbing pipes, chimneys, access hatches and other ceiling penetrations. You have to climb into your attic, pull or rake back insulation, and plug the leaks using foam, caulk and other methods. Low roof angles make some air leaks difficult to reach. This work is definitely a cool weather project; your attic will be unbearably hot otherwise.
- Measure your attic insulation level
While you’re in the attic, check the depth of your attic insulation. Building codes require about 12 to 14 in. of fiberglass or cellulose. Add more insulation if you’ve had problems with leaks in the past.
- Add roof and soffit vents
Attic ventilation draws in cold outdoor air and flushes out warmer attic air, cooling the attic and the roof in the process. The minimum ventilation area should be about 1 sq. ft. of vent per 300 sq. ft. of ceiling area Add enough so their ventilating area is about equal to the area of soffit vents. This might deliver a whole lot more ventilation than the minimum requirement.
Be sure to stay warm this winter and avoid any damages to your home!