As a resident of southwest Ohio, you know that temperatures can plummet below freezing for days or even weeks at a time during the winter. This means your home is vulnerable to damaging ice dams, which can wreak havoc on your home’s roof, attic and walls. Find out how to prevent ice dams on your Dayton-Springfield area house.
What are Ice Dams?
Ice dams are a direct result of uneven temperatures on the roof of a house. This, in turn, results from heat in the attic transferring through the roof. In homes with poor attic ventilation, insufficient insulation and other problems, the higher parts of the roof may be warmer than the lower parts, since there’s more attic space underneath the upper roof section. As a result of this uneven heating, snow that settles on a roof may melt on the upper sections and drain down toward the rain gutters. When the snowmelt hits the colder roof section near the eaves, it has a greater chance of freezing. This forms an “ice dam” that causes additional snowmelt to pool and back up on the roof. Eventually, it will find a route down into the attic or house walls. The damage can be extensive.
How to Prevent Ice Dams
The main strategies include:
- Improve ventilation in the attic so warm air doesn’t collect and warm the roof, melting the snow. Most experts recommend ridge vents, paired with continuous soffit vents, that allow cool air to circulate throughout the attic.
- Seal air leaks into the attic, including the attic hatch and around an attic fan. This will prevent warm air in the home’s living spaces from infiltrating into the attic.
- Add insulation to the attic floor, up to the level of the floor joists. This prevents heat transfer into the attic.
- Make sure ducts and vents don’t exhaust or leak air into the attic.
For more advice on preventing ice dams from forming on your home this winter, please contact us at Detmer and Sons, Inc.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in Dayton, Ohio about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).
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