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Cleveland HVAC Blog

3 Ways to Defend Against Damage From Ice Dams

Posted by P.K. Wadsworth Heating & Cooling on Thu, Feb 23, 2017 @ 09:05 AM

shutterstock_582215812.jpgThose giant ice formations at the edge of your roof might look pretty, but they can really wreak havoc on your gutters and roof. Known as ice dams—probably because of the four-letter expletives they'll leave you uttering—these sheets of ice can lead to soggy roofing, moldy attics, and sagging gutters. Here's how to defend yourself:Replace aging insulation.

Ice dams can usually be traced back to inadequate insulation. When your attic is not well insulated, heat escapes directly through the roof, melting snow near the peak. It re-freezes as it trickles down to the edge.

If your attic insulation is looking compacted, damp or discolored, it's not doing its job well, and it's time to have it replaced. Using spray foam or blown-in insulation rather than fiberglass batts eliminates "gaps" in the insulation, which helps prevent heat from escaping through the roof and causing ice dams.

Have your attic sealed.

A lot of older homes (and even some new ones) have leaky attics. Little cracks and crevices let warm air escape directly to the roof. Recessed lights are particularly prone to contributing to this problem!  Standard, fiberglass or cellulose insulation does not do a good job of preventing these leaks, but specialized attic sealing products do. Spray foam insulation adheres directly to the surface it is sprayed onto, physically plugging up these little holes. If you think your attic might be leaky, contact an insulation specialist to do an inspection and recommend sealing options to stop ice dams from forming.

Start snow raking.

This is not a permanent solution to your ice dam problems, but it is a good temporary fix while you're in the process of having your attic insulation evaluated and upgraded. A snow rake looks like a garden rake with an extra long, telescoping handle. You reach it up towards the peak of the roof, and then pull downward to dislodge the snow. If you can keep the roof snow-free, ice dams won't form. Just make sure you get out there quickly after every snowstorm.

If you're in need of an insulation upgrade, contact P.K. Wadsworth to learn more about our services.

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Topics: Ice Dams

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