Damn that Ice Dam – A close look at how to keep the problems outside this winter!

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Prevent ice dams

-Before you read on, make sure to take a look at the illustration to understand what causes ice dams.

It sounds backwards, but the best way to prevent an ice dam is to keep your roof cold!  This will allow the snow or ice to melt slowly and dissipate more evenly and controlled.  Make sure your attic is properly insulated and all gaps that let warm air from your living space are sealed.  This is the main cause of ice damming.  You attic also must remain well ventilated to allow that warm air to escape.  Although excess heat moving from the attic through the roof rapidly melts snow, once the melt water touches the freezing cold eaves, it quickly forms an ice dam.

If you have a furnace in the attic, it may not be possible to prevent ice dams.  You may have to insulate not only the ceiling joists in your attic, but also between your roof rafters while leaving an air space between the roof deck and insulation (unfaced) to prevent condensation.  The best way to accomplish this gap is to install rater air channels which can be found at any one of the home centers here in South Jersey.  Doing your own home improvements is most often difficult.  If something like this is out of your comfort level, please call Next Level Remodeling.  We will be able to look at your current setup and offer up a remedy if you are experiencing ice dam related problems this winter season.  Other areas of concerns are terminations where exhaust vent ducts enter the attic space, recessed light cavities, air registers and the attic door access itself.  Make sure your attic access is properly insulated.  You would be amazed how much heat transfer is through this one area alone.  Purchase an attic tent:  http://www.attictent.com/
If the gable and ridge vents do not generate sufficient air movement to dissipate the heat, you will need a motorized vent at one end of the attic to exhaust the heat, and an adequately sized vent on the opposite end of the attic to draw in cold air from the outside.

If you already have an ice dam forming, make sure to call a professional to remove and fix the issue.  Remember that prevention is key.  If you are unsure that your homes existing conditions are setup to prevent ice damming and other cold related problems, call now.  A consultation costs you nothing, but water backing up into your home could cost you dearly.

 

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