How to safeguard your home this winter from ice dam formation
The unpredictable winter weather can wreak havoc for millions of Americans across the country, leaving them cold and reaching to crank up the thermostat. Those living in areas where the temperatures can plummet to subzero, and snow and ice are a certainty, are all too familiar with what the season brings.
Staying warm and comfortable throughout the colder months is a high priority, which usually means high heating bills, multiple layers of clothing and warming soups. However, what can often be overlooked is the home itself. For instance, icicles forming on the eaves trough may be beautiful to look at, but can often be the result of a serious problem inside the home's roof.
Icicles form as the result of a poorly insulated attic or roof. Warm air travels up through gaps in the ceiling into the attic or roof space. The warm air escapes through the roof to cause any snow that has accumulated, to melt. As the melted snow runs off the roof, it begins to re-freeze as it nears the colder temperatures of the eaves. This creates an ice dam.
Ice dam formation can cause a range of problems, which if left unaddressed, can quickly become a very expensive problem to fix. Ice dams can place a large amount of structural stress on your eaves trough. The excess weight can eventually drive the eaves trough to detach from the house. Additionally, the continual build-up of ice can lift shingles, allowing melted snow to penetrate into the roof and leak into the home. The ingress of moisture alone can cause all sorts of potential problems, from unsightly water stains to damage to electrical work. Furthermore, prolonged dampness in an area such as the attic can leave any existing insulation sodden as well as create an environment where mold and mildew can develop.
There are several ways to reduce the risk of ice dams forming while keeping your home comfortable and warm. Although it may be enticing to climb up onto the roof and chip away the icicles and ice with a shovel or ax, this can be dangerous and could further damage the shingles and eaves trough. Moreover, it is only a temporary measure that doesn't get to the core of the problem.
One of the most effective solutions to reduce the risk of ice dams forming is to properly insulate your attic with a high performance air barrier and insulation material. Spray foam insulation, for example, creates an effective air barrier wherever it is applied. Spray foam insulation, like that available from Icynene, expands rapidly upon application to fill in every corner and crevice of the attic roof and works to limit the conditioned air that is inside your home from escaping.
Not only does spray foam limit warm air escaping from your home via the roof, it reduces the risk of ice dam formation, plus allows your HVAC unit to perform more optimally to keep you and your family comfortable and warm all winter long without the stress of ever-increasing heating bills.
Homeowners can download Icynene's free and comprehensive Home Insulation mobile app to better understand where air leaks can occur in their home, as well as how spray foam insulation can help make a difference to their home. More information about Icynene spray foam insulation can be found at Icynene.com.