Have you ever wonder why ice dams always appear on your roof? Maybe you’ve thought about how nice it looks and never really considered what it might mean for your home if they occur.

We’re going to break down what ice dams are, why they occur, and what they might mean for your home!

What are Ice Dams?

Ever wake up in the morning and take your coffee out onto the porch to notice that there are pointy bits of ice hanging from your roof? Well, that’s an ice dam. 

Those chunks of ice appear when snow from your roof melts and travels down to cooler points of the building only to freeze again into what is referred to as ice dams.

What Causes Ice Dams to Form?

There are several reasons ice dams form, including;

  • Inadequate Insulation – Older homes often feature inadequate insulation from way back when the house was built. Low sloped roofs and short overhangs especially suffer due to insufficient insulation at the spots where the wall and roof meet. As heat transfers through framing members, it warms the roof, melts the snow, and freezes again into ice dams at the overhang.
  • Ventilation Equipment – This isn’t as common as it maybe once was, but ventilation in attics was once a leading cause of ice dams. If you have this equipment in your attic, know you’re wasting money on a space that doesn’t benefit from such measures.
  • Snow, Sun, and Wind – When snow falls, it insulates your home as it collects on the roof. It warms your attic, causing snow to melt, and as it runs down the roof, eventually forming into ice dams at cooler temperature points. Another issue is that as the wind blows the snow off and the sun heats the top, causing the attic to heat up with it, the snow melts and runs down the roof again, resulting in ice dams.
  • Pot Lights –  Since they generate heat, they aren’t as much of a problem as some of these other reasons. However, due to their inability to be well sealed, and the air leaks, the heated air only intensifies the problem.

What are the Dangers of Ice Dams?

Ice dams can cause extensive damage to your home as it’s able to let water penetrate your interior walls allowing for damage to the wall and roof. Ice dams can have unimaginable consequences if not effectively dealt with, so start making some calls if you see ice dams.

Prevention and Protection from Ice Dams

Some of the reasons for ice dams are unavoidable. You are never going to be able to control the weather. Snow, wind, and sun will always be present in some capacity, contributing to the ice dams. However, a properly insulated home can prevent the snow from melting prematurely. 

When the home is insulated, the snow can melt when the overall temperature has returned to an ice melting point. Snow melting when it’s ready is far better than it melting prematurely due to the temperature of your home. In addition, insulation can keep the interior and exterior temperatures separated and save your home from the damaging effects of ice dams.

Are you looking to make a move and get your basement or attic correctly insulated? Then, don’t waste any more time! Instead, contact us and get in touch with us about a free estimate. Ottawa Insulation is ready to chat with you about your basement ambitions.

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