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What is ice damming and how can it be prevented?

Featured, News, Remodeling

It’s a telltale sign that winter has truly arrived: icicles hanging from the side of your gutter. While those icicles might look beautiful – they can be a sign that your roof and insulation need some work done. Allrite can help winterize your home to prevent damaged gutters, cracked shingles, water leaking and more.

What is ice damming, and what can you do to prevent it? Allrite has you covered.

What causes ice damming?

Ice damming can be caused by a number of problems – but it all comes down to adequate insulation and air flow under your roof. As you turn up your thermostat in the winter, that heat can rise through a poorly insulated attic and warm up your roof – melting the snow. That water from the melted snow slowly drips down to the edge of your roof, where it is not heated by the interior of your home, and refreezes. This creates a thick sheet of ice that prevents the rest of the melting snow from draining.

At its essence, ice damming is a sign that your roof is not evenly heated. And problems are building up. Randy Miller, owner of Allrite Home & Remodeling explains why ice damming occurs and how you can fix it.


How do I know if I have an ice damming problem?

It’s easier than you might think. The first thing to do is to simply look at your roof. If you see a big patch of ice – you have an ice damming problem! More subtle signs include water stains where your roof and exterior walls meet or condensation in your attic.

Still have questions? Check out this video from Focus on Energy that explains what ice damming is and how it can negatively impact your home.

Focus on Energy Ice Dams Explainer Video

It sounds scary – but fear not! S & E Insulation, a division of Allrite, is here to help make your home comfortable, dry and free from ice dams.


Solution #1: Add insulation

Our goal is to keep your entire roof at an even temperature. When our insulation experts add more insulation to your attic floor, heat will stay in your living space – right where it should be. This will prevent heat collecting in the attic and unevenly warming your roof. With the whole roof staying an even temperature, the snow will properly melt and drain. You also might just see your energy bill drop as your house starts heating more efficiently!


Solution #2: Add ventilation

Another way to keep your roof an even temperature is to increase ventilation and air circulation. Our expert technicians will examine your attic and identify places where ventilation is needed. Often, a ridge vent and continuous soffit ventilation is needed to ensure that there is enough circulation under your roof. After we install additional vents, the whole area will heat evenly — preventing ice damming!


Solution #3: Add air sealing

Along with assessing your home for needed insulation and ventilation, we’ll thoroughly examine the space for points of air leakage. As shown in the diagram below, vents, recessed lighting, windows and chimneys are just some of the places where outside air can leak in to your home and inside air can leak out. This air flow can cause uneven temperatures in your attic which lead to ice damming. To keep your home comfortable and energy efficient, it’s important to not only adequately insulate, but properly air seal as well.

Air Sealing Milwaukee: Common air leaks in residential homes

You never know when an ice dam might lead to a serious issue. Even in the middle of winter something can be done. Want an expert to take a look? Get in touch or give us a call at (414) 353-6910.

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