6 Tips to Prevent Ice Damming

We’ve discussed the common types of ice damming damage and provided tips for removing ice dams. Now, it’s time to discuss ways to prevent ice damming from occurring in the first place.

Ice dams can cause costly damage to your roof and attic. According to the Insurance Information Institute, freezing and water damage made up the second large number of claims by homeowners during a five year period ending in 2007. Ice dams were a significant part of those claims.

Damage from Ice Dams
An ice dam causes an array of problems for a homeowner. The biggest concern is water leaking into the attic. But damage also can happen to the roofing and its sheathing as water works its way underneath.

Frozen or melted, water is heavy. The sheer weight can force downspouts and gutters to be wrenched away from the house. In the worst cases, they actually take part of the facing on the home with them.

Ice dams can cause ceilings and walls to crack and paint to peel. Wood floors buckle and carpets get flooded. Insulation becomes soaked, structural components rot and mold forms.

Ice dams are a serious problem. By spending some time, energy and money before the cold weather hits, you can prevent them from forming. The goal of your efforts is to keep your attic ventilated and insulated.

Here are six tips that will keep your roof and attic safe this winter.

Tip #1: Ventilate the eaves and ridge on your roof.

You need to keep air circulating under your roof throughout the attic. You can that by installing a ridge vent and continuous soffit vents. The best size vents are those that provide one square foot of opening per 300 square feet of flooring in your attic. Adding baffles ensures that a clear pathway for the air to circulate is maintained.

Tip #2: Install an attic fan.

To ensure adequate ventilation, install an attic fan to keep air circulating.

Tip #3: Put a cap over the attic hatch.

If your attic hatch is unsealed, it is simply providing a large hole that lets heat escape. By covering it with caps made from weather stripping, you stop heat from getting out. Choose caps made from foil-faced foam board, connected with aluminum tape.

Tip #4: Have exhaust exit outside.

Ducts leading to kitchen, dryer and bathroom vents should all be directed outside via the roof or walls. Never have it go through the soffits.

Tip #5: Seal your ducts.

Using mastic that is fiber-reinforced is a good way to stop heat loss and to insulate both the HVAC and exhaust ducts in your home. Be sure to finish by covering them with R-5 or R-6 foil-faced fiberglass.

Tip #6: Put flash around your chimney.

Stop leaks by installing flash in the gap between your chimney and the frame of the house. Use L-shaped steel fastened with unbroken beads of fire-stop sealant. Be sure to use canned spray foam for safety.

Give us a call at Whole House Fan at 1.888.229.5757 to discuss how an attic fan can help prevent ice damming and provide your home with other benefits.