Dam! (Ice dams that is)
Updated: Feb 12, 2019
This past week has kept us here at Air Seal Tech quite busy helping homeowners who have had water dripping from the ceiling, water spots on the ceiling or water in light fixtures due to a deep freeze and a quick warm up with no insulating snow on the roof. This quick melt allows condensation in the attic to melt and drip rather than slowly evaporating.
Now only about a week later we are looking at another threat to peoples homes, that being ice dams. The 20 plus inches of snow we have received in the past ten days along with warmer temps closer to freezing and it appears that we are going to be looking at an explosion of ice dams in homes that have sub par insulation and air sealing.
Even before you have an ice dam that creates problems you will likely be able to see the telltale signs that that an ice dam may be imminent. If you see snow seeming to settle more higher on the roof than it is on the eaves, or you see icicles forming at the eaves you can assume that the snow is melting on the roof and creating the potential for ice dams.
An ice dam is a ridge of ice that forms on the roof over the eaves from melting snow and prevents additional melting snow from draining. As water backs up behind the dam, it can leak through the roof and cause damage to walls, ceilings, insulation and other areas.
The single most common cause of ice dams in our area is from an attic space that is too warm and melts the snow on the roof deck allowing water to run down to cold eaves and freeze creating an actual dam that backs up the water behind it. This most often caused by one or a combination of 3 things. A lack of proper insulation, heat escaping into attic through unsealed openings or the lack of proper ventilation. If you are prone to ice dams in the past now is the time to get out and rake the snow off your eaves and back about 8 feet so the sun can melt off any ice that forms.
If you would like to cure the problem of ice damming you will find that along with not having to worry about ice dams you will also get a a whole list of additional benefits that will improve your comfort and lifestyle. When you have a professional and proper job of air sealing and insulation done you may well find that your windows and doors are less drafty, your floors are warmer, your upper levels are cooler in the summer, less dust and allergens in your home, improved winter humidity for a lower incidence of colds and flu, lower utility bills, increased resale value.
Most homeowners do not realize how much the ceiling leaks in their home which is why we use both a blower door and an infrared camera to test a home prior to making any recommendations. This does 2 things, it allows us to test so we are not guessing and it allows the homeowner to see the leakage with their own eyes so they truly know if there is a problem or not.
If you are having any issues with your home in regards to ice dams. condensation, hot or cold spots, high utility bills, comfort issues, frozen pipes, high or low humidity, cold floors or any other issue that impacts your comfort and the enjoyment of your home, give Air Seal Tech a call we can help!