As temperatures fall and snowflakes begin to fly, residents all across Northeast Ohio will be looking for ways to defend their homes from an ominous foe whose annual appearance threatens to wreak havoc on their most valued asset. Ice Dams. Those massive sheets of ice that develop when the mercury plunges and snow begins to accumulate, which hang precariously off the roof tugging at shingles, gutters, and downspouts as they grow heavier and more intimidating with each passing day. Ice dams are responsible for countless thousands of dollars of repairs throughout our region every year, and the sad truth is that most ice dams can be prevented through proactive measures taken prior to the onset of freezing temperatures.
To combat ice dams, it is important to understand what causes them. Ice dams are caused when the heated air inside a house migrates to an unconditioned attic which results in snow melting on the shingles on the roof. Because the overhang is typically located well outside the heated living space beneath the roof, it is much colder than the surface of the shingles where the snow is melting.
When the water sheds off the shingles toward the overhang, it solidifies into a block of ice that serves as the foundation of the ice dam. This cycle continues until there is no more snow on the roof, which transfers a tremendous amount of weight to the soffits, overhangs, gutters, and downspouts, often resulting in damage to those components of the house.
So how do you prevent ice dams from happening? The time to prepare for ice dams is long before the snowflakes fly. In order to effectively defend against ice dams it is important to maintain effective insulation and ventilation in your roof.
By properly insulating your attic, you’ll minimize the heat loss that contributes to ice dams. You’ll also benefit from reduced heating bills by keeping the heated air inside your house during the winter. Have you ever seen a roof that has no accumulation on it during a snowfall?
A roof with poor insulation is losing heat to the surface of the shingles which melts the snow and can create ice dams.
Homes with poorly insulated attics or poorly ventilated roofs are particularly susceptible to ice dams. The best defense against ice dams is a roof that has well ventilated and well insulated. In a well ventilated roof, air can move freely from vents in the soffits where the roof overhangs the wall up through the unconditioned attic space and discharge through the ridge vent at the top of the roof. Not only does a well-ventilated roof resist the accumulation of ice dams along the gutters it also extends the life of the shingles by reducing the temperature in the summer.
Poorly insulated roof – bakery and insulation in joints
Thoroughly insulated attic with blown in cellulose
If you’re concerned about ice dams in your house, and you’re considering upgrades to your roof, insulation or ventilation, Lost Pond Construction can help. Please call us at 440-290-8108 so we can help make ice dams a thing of your home’s past.