Ice damming is a frequent occurrence in every Missouri or Kansas winter, but nature doesn’t actually cause this phenomenon. Ice dams form when the plane of a roof is too warm, causing snow to melt and refreeze upon reaching the colder overhangs.
Although ice dams thaw and go away on their own, they’re a definite hazard. You can have them professionally removed, but inhibiting them in the first place is the better solution. To achieve that goal, do the following to address the real causes of ice dams:
Ensure Proper Insulation
Get high-quality spray insulation in the attic. Flawlessly installed insulation material can effectively reduce conduction, which is the flow of heat through solid objects. If the output complies with the building code, it will prevent indoor heat from getting into your attic and warming up your roof’s underside.
Furthermore, you can ask an insulation contractor like A+ Insulation to seal the gaps in the attic. Making your top-most usable space airtight reinforces your home’s thermal enclosure system. In addition to reducing conductive heat with sufficient insulation, you can also minimize convection, which is the transfer of thermal energy through the air.
Isolating your attic from the rest of the house isn’t enough to regulate its temperature. Regardless of the season, it’s bound to get hotter than the outside air without proper ventilation. The entry of cold drafts and exit of warm air help keep the attic temperature as close to the outside world as possible. You can do this naturally or mechanically. Either way, there should be a healthy combination of intake and exhaust vents to ensure proper airflow.
Ample attic ventilation doesn’t only discourage ice dam formation but also condensation. Moisture-ridden warm air will not have a chance to turn into liquid upon touching colder surfaces when it can quickly go outside.
Clean the Gutters
To be clear, ice damming still happen to houses with debris-free gutters. However, the likelihood of this phenomenon increases when a roof’s drainage system is clogged. Instead of traveling straight to the ground, the water might become trapped due to dead foliage. When it doesn’t drain fast enough, the wintry air can turn it into ridges of ice in no time.
Make gutter cleaning a habit. You might think that this activity is a thankless job, but your house would show its love to you if only it could talk. Aside from keeping the chances of ice damming to a minimizing, clean gutters and downspouts help prevent roof leakage too.
Minimize Nearby Heat Sources
Sometimes, insulating the floor of the attic and the roof deck isn’t enough. Lighting fixtures in the rooms below can transfer the heat they generate to the area above. If you have ducts in the attic, seal and insulate them properly to prevent heated air from escaping and inadvertently raising your roof’s temperature.
Preventing ice damming requires a lot of work, but it’s worth the effort. Without ice dams, you’ll have one less thing to worry about every winter and potentially save a lot of money on home repairs.