The presence of ice dams on the eaves of your roof indicates that temperatures in the attic are too warm. The heat from the attic will warm the roof’s surface and melt the snow. As the water trickles down, it collects around the eaves and refreezes. When it melts, it can damage the structure of your home or seep into the attic. Unchecked, wood rot and mold growth may occur, leading to expensive home repairs.
- Check the insulation level. If it’s below 16 inches or unevenly distributed, you may need to add more or rearrange the existing insulation.
- Look for duct leaks if they run through the attic by looking for obvious breaches or places that have dust deposits near the ducts. If they’re easy to access, use specialized metal tape to seal them or mastic, an adhesive that HVAC pros use. The ducts should also be insulated to prevent heat loss from the warmed air blowing through them. If you suspect ductwork problems, contact your HVAC contractor, since duct leaks can be a serious energy drain and pose health hazards.
- Apply weatherstripping and insulation to the attic hatch or door to stop air and heat from entering the attic.
- Measure the amount of fresh air ventilation inside your attic. You should have one square foot for each 300 square feet to prevent ice dams.
- Stop any air leaks around the chimney or flues from a gas furnace or water heater by using metal flashing and silicon caulk to seal them.
- Inspect the vents that lead from the exhaust fans in the kitchen and bathroom and verify that they exit through the roof or walls. A vent that stops inside the attic or runs through a soffit will increase heat in the attic.
- Replace older recessed lighting fixtures with types that are air-sealed and safe to place insulation around and over.
- Keep the gutters clean so the snow melt drains freely.
To learn more about preventing ice dams this winter, contact the pros at Stack Heating & Cooling. We’ve provided outstanding HVAC services for greater Cleveland homeowners since 1976.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in Cleveland, Ohio about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).
Credit/Copyright Attribution: “Jeffery Stone/Shutterstock”