For those of us who live in New England, icicles are a familiar sight in the winter. While they can be a beautiful sight, when icicles hang from your gutter or roof, it’s important to take note.
Ice dams are a mass of thick ice that gathers along the lower edge of the roof. After a heavy snowfall, warm air in the attic causes snow at the top of the roof to melt and run down the roof. If it refreezes on the colder overhang of the roof, it can accumulate and form an ice dam.
As the snow continues a cycle of melting and refreezing, it can back up under roof shingles, leak into the attic, and even cause water damage in your living space. To keep your roof free of damage, keep reading for ways you can prevent ice dams.
Ensuring your roof is properly ventilated is one way to prevent ice dams. With ventilation, air from the outside circulates in the attic space. In the winter, this keeps the surface of the roof below freezing so the snow will not melt.
Added insulation on the attic floor (or the ceiling of living spaces) helps to keep the hot air where it belongs – inside the home. With insulation, the heat from inside won’t rise up to the rafters of the roof. Just like with proper ventilation, this means the surface of the roof will stay cold so the snow at the top of the roof doesn’t melt.
Heat can creep into attics that have already been insulated. Make sure you seal and insulate HVAC ducts, dryer vents, and exhaust fans. With proper sealing, these ducts and vents lead outdoors, so the hot air doesn’t escape into the attic.
If you have a chimney, you can also make sure there is a flash around the chimney to bridge the gap between it and the house. This helps to property seal the attic space.
Nobody wants to replace a roof for something that can be prevented! During freezing months, check the exterior of your home for any signs of ice dams. Knowing how to prevent ice dams, and catching them early, will save you time and money come spring.
For more information on maintaining your roof through winter, contact us!