Ice Dams

Problem:

Icicles hanging along the eaves of your house may look beautiful, but they spell trouble. The conditions that allow icicles to form—snow-covered roofs and freezing weather—also lead to ice dams: thick ridges of solid ice that build up along the eaves. Dams can tear off gutters, loosen shingles, and cause water to back up and pour into your house.
Ice dams are caused by warm air escaping through air leaks from your home to your roof. The warm air melts the snow on your roof, which then drips down to the edge of the roof until it reaches the point just above the exterior wall and freezes again. As this process continues, this ice builds up until it begins to creep underneath shingles, melt once again, and drip into your home. This can cause up to tens of thousands of dollars in remediation costs — your roof may need to be replaced, drywall may need to be replaced and re-painted, mold may build up inside your walls, carpets and furniture can be damaged, and rotten wood may pose structural risks.

Solution:

Preventing ice dams not only saves your roof and gutter system, it improves the air quality and health of your home. Mold and mildew are often the aftermath of ice dams and water damage and can go undetected, eventually it can trigger asthma and other health problems. Water damage also can be incredibly costly with and unexpected repairs. Removing the snow from your roof, installing heated cables and deicing are short-term solutions. The way to prevent ice dams is to prevent the transmission of heat from your living space to your roof.

– Seal all air leaks and upgrade insulation to spray foam or blown in cellulose
– Flash around chimneys: bridge the gap between chimney and house framing with L-shaped steel flashing held in place with unbroken beads of a fire-stop sealant
– Caulk penetrations: seal around vent pipes with a fire-stop sealant; look for any spots where light shines up from below or the insulation is stained black by the dirt from passing air.
– Seal and insulate ducts
– Ventilate eaves and ridge

Our process begins with a home energy audit, which pinpoints deficiencies in your home’s thermal envelope by using an infrared scanner to identify air leaks and insufficient insulation; followed by air sealing and insulation improvements to ensure that your home will remain ice-dam-free for decades to come.