Ice Dams: More Than Just a Nuisance

Homeowners often ignore large icicles hanging from their roofs in the winter, unaware that they could be indicators of a lurking problem: ice dams. These formations can cause significant damage to your home. Today we’re going to explain why, and how you can prevent them.

How Ice Dams Form (and the Risk They Are to Your House)

Ice dams form when heated air in your attic causes snow on the roof to melt. The water trickles down to the roof’s edge and refreezes, creating a dam. This cycle can lead to the accumulation of large ice formations along the eaves. But how exactly does this affect your home?

  1. Water Damage: The dam prevents melting snow from draining, causing water to back up under roof shingles and leak into your home.
  2. Structural Strain: The weight of the ice can strain your roof structure, leading to potential damage.
  3. Mold and Mildew: Moisture from leaks encourages the growth of mold and mildew, posing health risks and damaging interior finishes.

Why Ice Dam Prevention Beats Ice Dam Removal

Removing an ice dam once it’s formed can be a costly and challenging endeavor. Not only does it require immediate and professional intervention, but the associated repairs for water damage and mold remediation can be extensive. Ice dam prevention, therefore, is not just preferable; it’s a cost-effective approach to protecting your home.

Stop Ice Dams from Forming with Better Attic Insulation and Air Sealing

The most effective strategy to prevent ice dams is by upgrading your attic insulation and implementing air sealing. This approach tackles the root cause: the escape of warm air into the attic.

When considering attic insulation, it’s crucial to focus on the quality of the materials used. Insulation with a high R-value, a measure of thermal resistance, is more effective in reducing heat transfer. This doesn’t just mean adding more insulation, but also ensuring that it’s the right type and properly installed. The insulation needs to be uniformly distributed across the attic, with special attention to corners and edges, which are often prone to heat loss. Areas around attic access points, ductwork, and chimneys require careful insulation to prevent heat escape.

Air sealing complements insulation by targeting the tiny cracks and openings through which warm air can escape. Common leak points include spaces around light fixtures, vent pipes, chimneys, and attic hatches. Using appropriate sealants and weatherstripping to seal these leaks is vital. It’s equally important to regularly inspect and maintain these seals, as they can degrade over time, allowing air leaks to reoccur.

Moreover, a professional home energy audit can be an invaluable step in this process. Audits help reveal the specific areas in your attic (and the rest of your home) that need improvement, ensuring that your insulation and air sealing efforts are as effective and long-lasting.

Additional Benefits of Attic Insulation and Air Sealing

With upgraded insulation and air sealing, you’ll benefit from more than just fewer ice dams. Improving the energy efficiency of your home means less wasted energy, lower heating and cooling bills, and a more comfortable indoors for your family. Insulation is also more than just a winter perk—in the summer, it will work to keep summer heat out of your home and reduce the load on your air conditioning during hot, humid afternoons.

Making Home Improvement Upgrades Affordable with Grants, Rebates & Tax Credits

In our service area, numerous incentives are available to homeowners looking to upgrade their insulation and air sealing. These include:

  • Grant Programs: Income-eligible households can access grants to assist with the cost of home improvements.
  • Federal Tax Credits: Homeowners can qualify for tax credits of up to $1,200 on insulation and air sealing materials.

Energy Savers is a participating contractor with grant programs and can provide you with the paperwork you need to take a tax credit when you go to file your taxes! Talk to our team today for help not just with your ice dams, but with making long-lasting home improvements for less money today.

Keep your home ice dam-free with Energy Savers! Call (315) 437-3008 or contact us today to schedule a home energy audit.

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