In the past week or so the temperatures outside have fluctuated all over the place. And, most of the houses out there have snow up on the roof that will melt and/or evaporate until it is all gone.
Yesterday we introduced you to the concept of Ice Dams. Just to make things very clear, an ice dam is a phenomenon that you would not like at your house! So, what causes Ice Dams to form?
- Poorly insulated attic
- Poor attic ventilation
- Melting snow creates meltwater
- Meltwater then re-freezes
- Frozen meltwater creates an Ice Dam
It is almost always easy to tell if you have an Ice Dam up on your roof; as some of the Meltwater drips over the roof edge Icicles will form. If you see Icicles hanging off your roof it is very likely you have Ice Dams.
So that we understand, Meltwater comes from melting snow and runs down the roof and over the edge or into a gutter. Meltwater comes from the bottom layer of the snow that is resting against the roof. The snow melts because the roof temperature is above freezing. The roof temperature is above freezing because there is escaping heat from inside the house. The indoor heat escapes and warms the roof because there is not enough attic insulation. The temperature of your attic goes up for two reasons:
- Not enough insulation
- Poor ventilation.
The temperature in your attic should be virtually identical to the ambient temperature outside.
If things are working properly the snow on your roof will melt as the temperatures go up above freezing. As the temperatures go up the snow will melt and not freeze when it gets to the overhang because the air temperature is above freezing.
None of this is complicated Rocket Science, the melting snow is a reflection of how much insulation you have, or don’t have.
Ice dams and the resulting water intrusion into the house can cause a ton of problems, none of which are good.
- Sheetrock damage
- Saturated insulation
- Lumber rot
- Structural damage
All these problems can be taken care of and fixed but at a cost. It is easier to eliminate Ice Dams.
The easiest and best solution is to add more insulation and that will quickly solve the Ice Dam problem. The added insulation will also help you fight Heat Loss.
Adding the insulation is a quick, easy, and relatively cheap fix.
What are you doing this weekend?