Simple Steps to Prevent Ice Dams
Poli Mortgage Group
Simple steps for Ice Dam prevention
Stopping ice dams is simple, in principle: Keep the roof cold. Ice dams occur by snow melting off the top part of the roof. As the water runs down to colder eves it refreezes. One this ice starts to build up it blocks the new melted snow from passing to the gutter, this water backs up under the shingles and ultimately into your home and ceilings. By preparing your home now you can help prevent ice dams by these roof cooling techniques.
1. Ventilate Eaves and Ridge
A ridge vent paired with continuous soffit vents circulates cold air under the entire roof. Both ridge and soffit vents should have the same size openings and provide at least 1 square foot of opening for every 300 square feet of attic floor. Place baffles at the eaves to maintain a clear path for the airflow from the soffit vents.
2. Cap the Hatch
An unsealed attic hatch, drop stair case or whole-house fan is a massive opening for heat to escape. Cover them with weather stripped caps made from foil-faced foam board held together with aluminum tape.
3. Exhaust to the Outside
Make sure that the ducts connected to the kitchen, bathroom, and dryer vents all lead outdoors through either the roof or walls, but never through the soffit.
4. Add Insulation
More insulation on the attic floor keeps the heat where it belongs. To find how much insulation your attic needs, check with your local building department.
5. Install Sealed Can Lights
Old-style recessed lights give off great plumes of heat and can't be insulated without creating a fire hazard. Replace them with sealed "IC" fixtures, which can be covered with insulation. (consult a licensed electrician)
6. Flash Around Chimneys
Bridge the gap between chimney and house framing with L-shaped steel flashing held in place with unbroken beads of a fire-stop sealant. Using canned spray foam or insulation isn't fire safe.
7. Seal and Insulate Ducts
Spread fiber-reinforced mastic on the joints of HVAC ducts and exhaust ducts. Cover them entirely with R-5 or R-6 foil-faced fiberglass.
8. Caulk Penetrations
Seal around electrical cables and vent pipes with a fire-stop sealant. Also, look for any spots where light shines up from below or the insulation is stained black by the dirt from passing air.
- In addition to the roof cooling steps you should also make sure that your gutters and downspouts are clean. Once water makes it to the gutter you want to be sure it makes it to the ground. A blocked down spout can increase your chance of and ice dam and also cause dangerous icicles to form.