This winter while you’re snug in your warm home, enjoying family and refreshment, a very real hazard could be developing on your roof – an ice dam. This phenomenon of cold, snowy weather can result in severe damage to your attic, walls, carpets and furniture. So what are ice dams anyway?
Ice dams occur on the roof of a house when temperatures vary widely between the upper and lower sections of the roof. This happens when heat energy transfers through the roof from a warm attic. With more air underneath the upper parts of the roof, these sections tend to get warmer than the lower sections, which have very little underlying attic space.
As a result, snow melts farther up the attic, then drains downward and refreezes when it hits the colder sections near the gutters and eaves. As more of this melted snow refreezes, it forms ridges of ice, which then allow more melted snow to pool behind the ridge. The collected water, with nowhere else to go, often will find its way into your attic or seep down walls, causing substantial damage to walls, floors, carpeting and furniture.
Preventing Ice Dams
To prevent an ice dam from forming, the attic needs to be properly ventilated, insulated and sealed, so that 1) heat from the living spaces below doesn’t escape into the attic; and 2) so any heat that makes it to the attic doesn’t transfer to the roof above.
The right assortment and placement of attic vents will help keep attic air from getting too warm, while effective air sealing and insulation in the attic floor and hatch/door will prevent your home’s valuable heat from transferring into the attic. Insulating and sealing the roof is important as well.
The bonus of keeping warm air in your living spaces is that you’ll feel more comfortable and will save energy as the furnace doesn’t kick on as often to compensate for heat escaping into the attic.
For more advice on avoiding ice dams and maintaining a comfortable and safe home this winter, please contact us at Elite Air, Inc.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in Trenton, New Jersey about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about ice dams and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Guide or give us a call at 609-401-2655.
Credit/Copyright Attribution: “qimono/Pixabay”