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Ice Dams

Problem: Ice dams are formed by warm air escaping through air leaks from your home to the roof. The warm air melts the snow on your roof, which then drips down the roof.  When the melted snow reaches the cold area of the roof, it freezes again. As the cycle of melting and freezing continues, the ice builds up until it begins to creep underneath shingles, melt once again, and begins to infiltrate the insulation in your attic, wall cavities, ceilings, and drywall. This can cause up to tens of thousands of dollars in remediation costs -- your roof may need to be replaced, drywall may need to be replaced and re-painted, mold may build up inside your walls, carpets and furniture can be damaged, and rotten wood may pose structural risks.

Solution:  Although removing the snow from your roof or using heat cables is a short-term solution, the way to prevent ice dams in the future is to prevent the transmission of heat from your living space to your roof by sealing all air leaks, upgrading insulation and ensuring adequate ventilation.

Attic Ventilation is a critical component in addressing ice dams. It eliminates attic moisture and prevents it from condensing in the cold air on your roof decking, potentially causing damage to the decking and the shingles. A well ventilated attic will be colder, and less snow will melt on the roof. It also helps keep your attic cool in summer, contributing to more comfort and lower air conditioning bills.  

Story and a half buildings have unique energy saving opportunities and distinctive challenges in energy retrofits. If it is time to replace your roof, consider upgrading to a metal roof with insulation underneath.

*When we have a winter where warm, sunny days alternate with plunging temperatures, the bright sunshine will produce some snow melt, regardless of attic insulation. This is considered a naturally occurring ice accumulation due to weather conditions.