It’s been a relatively mild fall here in Western Massachusetts, but it’s almost that time of year when we start getting hit with freezing temperatures and snow. You’re probably anticipating lots of shoveling and plowing once the snow comes, but one nuisance you may be forgetting about is ice dam formation on your roof.
Ice dams can cause some of the most inconvenient and expensive damage during the winter, but they don’t have to; with the right preventive measures, you can stop ice dams before the snow falls.
How Ice Dams Can Damage Your Home
Ice dams result when snow and ice on your roof melt due to a leaky or poorly insulated attic. The melted snow flows down your roof, only to refreeze when it reaches the eaves where it is cooler. Ice continues to build up along the eaves, preventing any other melted snow from draining off. Over time, melted snow can pool and leak through your roof, damaging it and other structures underneath.
Ice dams can wreak havoc on your home in a number of ways. The most common form of damage is water leakage on ceilings, walls, insulation, and other interior areas. This can lead to peeling paint, stained or spotted drywall, and even wood rotting. Wet insulation is especially problematic because it will no longer be effective and could harbor mold growth. Ice dams can also lift shingles up, undermining the integrity of your roof. The weight of an ice dam could even pull your gutters right off!
Preventive Measures You Can Take
Because the culprit behind ice dams is a leaky or poorly insulated attic, the best way to prevent ice dams is to weatherize your attic. Through proper air sealing and insulation, you can prevent heat from rising up into your attic and escaping through your roof. Air sealing will eliminate holes and cracks that are leaking hot air, while installing high-performance insulation (including mechanical insulation around pipes in your attic) will give your attic greater thermal resistance. A preliminary energy audit will reveal exactly what your attic needs in terms of air sealing and insulation to prevent ice dams.
Energía Can Solve Your Ice Dam Issues
At Energía, we encourage homeowners in the Pioneer Valley area to stop ice dams before they start with proper insulation and air sealing methods. However, if you find that ice dams plague your roof this winter, we’re here to help you prevent any damage to your home. In addition to weatherizing your attic, we can take immediate actions such as shoveling your roof and creating channels for proper water drainage.