As nice as icicles look on a frigid but sunny winter day, they can actually spell big trouble for Southern New Hampshire homes. Small icicles can turn to big ones quickly, and when you have big icicles you’re only a step away from ice dams on your roof.
If you’ve ever dealt with ice dams before, you know how much of a pain they are, and just how much damage they can cause to a home. Keep reading to understand why ice dams form and why upgrading your attic insulation and air sealing can drastically affect the ability of ice dams to form on your roof.
What Causes Ice Dams?
Ice dams form when the area underneath your roof warms up enough to melt the bottom layer of snow on your shingles. That melted snow travels down your roof, under the snow, until it reaches an area of the roof—usually the overhang—that is still cold, at which point it turns into icicles. This can happen even on the coldest of days within hours of a new snowfall on some homes.
As more and more of the snow higher up on your roof melts and freezes again on the overhang, the icicles get bigger, and an ice dam begins to form at the bottom of your roof, creeping upwards. Eventually, this dam grows large enough that the melting water is trapped, and it finds its way under your shingles and into your home. For many people it means using a snowrake after every snowstorm, while other homes have installed the unsightly aluminum on the first 3 feet of their roof to compensate.
The Damage That Ice Dams Can Cause
Ice dams can create all kinds of issues in your home, including:
Water leaks inside your home, like water spots on ceilings
High heating and cooling bills
Structural damage to your home
How Does Insulation and Air Sealing Affect Ice Dams?
What do ice dams have to do with your home’s insulation and air sealing? Well, remember how ice dams start when your shingles warm up enough to melt the snow on your roof? Your shingles get warm because of a drafty home to the attic and poor attic insulation!! Heat from your home is making its way into your attic much faster than it should be and transferring through your attic insulation (or lack of it) and the building materials of your roof into your shingles. Some home types are notoriously worse than others, especially a Cape cod style home being the worst energy hog.
That means that the best way to prevent ice dams from forming is by properly finding and sealing attic air leaks with spray foam insulation and upgrading the attic insulation afterwards,, keeping the warm air from your heating system inside your home where it belongs.
Upgrade Your Home Today, and Say Goodbye to Ice Dams
Do you have icicles or iice dams, but are unsure exactly why your home insulation isn’t working well enough? Call A Plus Energy Services? Our energy audits can pinpoint exactly where heat is leaking in and out of the top of your home, and can answer questions like, “What kind of insulation is used in attics?”
“What is the recommended amount of insulation for my attic?” “Can I finally keep my thermostat at a temperature like 70 degrees without fear of fuel bills that sting”?
If you’re thinking about finishing your attic space, we can walk you through the benefits of insulating and venting an attic before sheetrock is installed, as well as why it makes sense to insulate and air seal your garage to fight against ice dams when the temperatures drop.
The Many Benefits of Air Sealing
Not only will air sealing and insulation help you avoid ice dams, but you’ll reduce your monthly energy costs, help save the environment, waste less energy and fuel heating your home, and stay more comfortable inside. Plus, with rebates of up to $4,000 through the NH Saves and Home Performance with ENERGY STAR program, upgrading your Manchester, Londonderry or Nashua home is even more affordable.