If you’re a home-owner who appreciates having a roof over your head, notably within the winter, then there’s one thing essential you’ll need to know: how to forestall ice dams.
No, an ice dam isn’t made by ice beavers. (Sorry!) An ice dam is a singular (and extremely annoying) winter phenomenon that happens when heated air inside your house meets your roof.
“The warm air trapped beneath the surface of the room gradually conducts itself through the building material and raises the temperature of the roof’s surface,” says Scott Fischer, the proprietor of Ciel Power in Lyndhurst, NJ. The temperature improve melts the ice and snow on the roof, inflicting water to drip down towards the eaves (the a part of the roof that meets or overhangs the partitions).
Because your eaves aren’t heated by the indoor air, the temperature drops dramatically, refreezing the water alongside the sides of your roof. This occurs many times till you’ve a thick twine of ice round your roof. This ice dam, in flip, blocks water from operating off your roof, which leads to leaks.
“As the dam expands, moisture and ice gradually find their way into the space underneath shingles,” says Fischer. “Eventually, it reaches the sheathing beneath the roof’s surface, where it melts and causes leaks into the living spaces below.”
Ice dams, in different phrases, can significantly wreak havoc on your property this winter. Yet there’s a lot you are able to do to hold them from occurring.
Step 1: Get a snow rake
If you have loads of snow in your roof, the only means to forestall ice dams is to get it off. Well, that’s not essentially easy. But, to one of the best of your potential, decide up a snow rake, seize a ladder, and get to work. Snow rakes gained’t injury your shingles, plus they arrive with an extra-long deal with so that you don’t have to climb round in your icy roof (a surefire means to find yourself within the hospital). So take your time and be protected.
Step 2: Prevent air leaks
Don’t let heat air attain your roof. Hunt for leaks on the underside of your roof round unsealed attic followers, ductwork, electrical conduits, and in any other case. You also needs to verify for leaks within the flooring of your attic. If you discover any, seize your caulk gun and fill in these cracks. This will scale back the quantity of warmth making its means upstairs and out onto your roof.
Step three: Add insulation
An attic with no insulation (or poor or inadequate insulation) is a chief breeding floor for an ice dam. So think about including extra to hold your eaves ice-free, your property toasty, and your power invoice low. As for the price, stuffing some fiberglass insulation right into a 35-by-30-foot attic will value a mean of $1,268. But not solely will you save on power payments, you’ll additionally recoup 116.9% of your prices should you determine to promote your house, in accordance to Remodeling Magazine’s Cost vs. Value Report. Hey, that’s greater than you paid! Not dangerous.
Step four: Update your recessed lights
One shocking wrongdoer for ice dams? Outdated recessed lights sporting incandescent bulbs. Not solely do these extra-hot bulbs warmth up your attic, however the air flow system embedded within the fixture additionally permits even extra heat air via. Replace these bulbs with trendy LEDs to hold your attic good and funky (and save in your power invoice, too).
Step 5: Increase air flow
One approach to calm down your attic is to improve the quantity of air flowing from the surface by way of it—and that may be completed by including soffit vents (perforated screens that hold under your roof’s backside edge) and ridge vents (small coated vents close to the height of your roof). That method, chilly outdoors air flows by way of the soffits and up via the ridge vents up prime. (Bonus: Better air flow means much less moisture in your attic year-round.)
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