Preparing for Winter: Understanding and Preventing Ice Dams

Published on: Dec 02 2013 by

Ice dams are a common problem in cold climates. These ridges of ice build up along eaves when the weather is below freezing for an extended period. Left long enough, melted water from ice dams can damage the roof structure or even the ceiling inside the house. Falling ice dams can be dangerous for people as well as for buildings.

 

Ice dam

What causes an ice dam?

Ice dams happen when one part of a roof is warmer than another. The warm roof melts the snow on top of it, causing water runoff. This water freezes again once it hits a colder area of the roof — most often the eaves of a building.

 

Luckily, the causes of ice dams are well understood and easily prevented.  The most common reason for ice dams is inadequate insulation. Often, a hot water pipe or a heating vent is to blame. These pipes carry hot water or heated air, so leaking insulation creates a hot spot on the roof above the leak. Snow on these warm areas melts and refreezes in another area of the roof.

 

If you suspect that a vent is the cause of an ice dam, check the insulation around these vents for heat leaks and seal any leaks that you find. Vents and pipes may also have inadequate insulation. If the entire vent  is warm, install R-8 duct insulation which will seal any leaks as well as reflect 97% of the lost heat back into the duct.  Properly insulating pipes with EcoFoil pipe wrap insulation will eliminate ice dams that form because of hot pipes.  Once you have sealed all of the leaks from the living space, installing EcoFoil perforated radiant barrier on the floor of your attic will serve as another means to keep the heat inside your house where it belongs.

 

EcoFoil radiant barrier products are high performance insulation materials that excel at temperature management in cold and hot climates all year long.  Prevent ice dams, save money, and reduce your impact on the environment by installing EcoFoil in your attic.  To place your order visit www.ecofoil.com or call 888-349-3645.

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