Protect Your Home From Ice Dams

With energy costs rising, you have probably already sealed any drafts around your windows and doors, but have you considered your ceilings?

Heat loss through your roof can result in thousands of dollars in damage as a result of ‘ice damming’. Ice damming happens when warm air leaks from your house into the attic, melting the snow on your roof. This water runs down and freezes again at the roof’s edge. This process repeats itself and eventually creates a dam made of ice that prevents water from draining away. Inevitably, this water backs up under the shingles and into your home.
The key to preventing ice dams is to make sure your attic is properly insulated. Experts recommend having a minimum of 8 inches of R20 insulation on your attic floor. However, insulation alone may not be enough. Heat escaping from ceiling fixtures, attic access hatches, exhaust fan systems, chimneys or other perforations in your ceiling can increase the risk of damming.

Here’s what you can do to prevent ice dams or minimize damage:

Preventing an ice dam
• Insure that your attic is adequately insulated
• From inside the home, seal any perforations in the ceiling
• Ensure your soffit vents are not blocked by insulation
• Draw more air into the attic through the gable and eave vents
• Keep roof vents free of snow so cold air can circulate in your attic
• If you are installing a new roof, request roof felt or heating cables
• If you suspect your home is susceptible to ice damming, consult an expert

What to do if an ice dam occurs
• Consult an expert. UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCE should you climb out on your roof
• Remove any damaged contents and move any undamaged contents out of harms way
• Contact a local restoration contractor to inspect and take immediate preventative action

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