As temperatures throughout the winter fluctuate, there are some unseasonably warm days, but there are also the bitter cold and snowy ones here in New Jersey. With any snow accumulation and colder temperatures, ice dams can start to form and wreak havoc on your home. Thankfully, they can be prevented.
What Are Ice Dams and How Do They Form?
If you’ve seen those beautiful, yet dangerous-looking icicles hanging from a gutter or roof, then you’ve come face-to-face with an ice dam. Although they may look whimsical, these ice dams can seriously damage your home’s roof, gutters, siding and even attic. They also indicate a larger problem with a home.
Ice Dam Damage
With just one substantial snowfall or over the course of the entire winter, ice dams can severely damage your home. Common problems include:
- Roof leaks
- Damaged insulation
- Mold growth
- Broken or fallen gutters
- Ruined landscaping
- Destroyed soffits or siding
Stop Ice Dams from Forming
Although ice dams can be removed, it’s a tedious process. The surest way to protect your home is to prevent them from forming to begin with, which does require an investment. However, not only will ice dam prevention work to stop ice dams from forming, but it will also make your home more comfortable year-round and help you save on your monthly energy bills.
Pairing Air Sealing & Insulation
The stack effect transforms your home into a large chimney. It pulls warm air up and out (causing ice dams to form) while pulling cold air into your home (increasing your discomfort and energy bills). Although the stack effect occurs in virtually every home, it’s the most pronounced in homes with leaky building envelopes.
Air sealing is the process of filling in all those little gaps and cracks that accentuate the stack effect and allow air to readily exit and enter your home. By having your home air sealed with a particular focus on the attic, you’ll take the first step towards ice dam prevention.
To increase the effectiveness of your home’s air sealing, you should pair it with high-performance insulation. Since insulation works as a thermal barrier, it prevents heat transfer, keeping your home warmer during the winter and cooler during the summer.
Adequate, high R-value (thermal resistance) insulation, particularly in the attic, is the second step to stopping ice dams from forming. By pairing air sealing and insulation, you’ll not only stop ice dams from occurring, but you’ll also transform your home into one that’s more comfortable and energy efficient throughout the entire year.
Prevent Ice Dams with Allied Energy Efficiency Experts
If you’re tired of high energy bills, uncomfortable home temperatures and ice dams, the team at Allied can help. We’ll make sure all the energy efficiency issues in your home are addressed so that you can stop ice dams from forming, while also increasing your comfort and lowering your utility bills.