ice damThe freeze and thaw of a Maryland winter allow ice dams to form on homes that don’t have proper attic insulation. How to prevent ice dams and icicles from forming so you don’t have costly repairs inside your home. 

How ice dams and icicles form

An ice dam is a ridge of ice that forms on the edge of a roof, preventing melting snow and ice from properly draining. When this happens, water pools behind the dam and eventually leaks into the home, causing water damage to walls, ceilings, floors, and much more. An icicle, meanwhile, is a hanging, tapering piece of ice formed by the freezing of dripping water. Both ice dams and icicles plague homeowners. But why do these icy formations…well, form?

An icicle, meanwhile, is a hanging, tapering piece of ice formed by the freezing of dripping water. Both ice dams and icicles plague homeowners.

The No. 1 reason for ice dams and icicles is too much heat in the attic. Period. End of story.

It has nothing to do with your roof (directly), it has nothing to do with your gutters, it has nothing to do with any of that. Ice dams and icicles form for one primary reason: heat.

Just stop and think about it for a second…

  1. If the snow on your roof melted, there must be heat coming from somewhere.
  2. If it’s winter, the heat is probably not coming from above.
  3. If you can stop the heat in your attic, the ice dams and icicles should stop too.

Now the question becomes, “How do I stop my attic from getting too hot?”

Is attic insulation to blame for ice dams?

When the temperature in the middle of a roof is warmer than the temperature at the edges, you have a problem. The snow and ice in the middle of the roof will begin to melt. This melted snow will work its way toward the gutters, with the help of our friend gravity. But there is a problem. With the temperature at the edge of the roof still below freezing, this melted snow will freeze, forming an ice dam.

What causes the temperature difference on the roof?

There is no one answer, but the most common culprit is improper insulation. So you have to ask yourself a very important question. “Do I have enough attic insulation?”

The best way to pinpoint your exact problem is with a home energy audit from Minnick’s. It will test your home’s performance, including your ductwork, heating and cooling system, and insulation.

Attic insulation is the key to stopping ice dams and icicles.

The energy audit will likely uncover other problems, too. Minnick’s customers see improvement in their energy bills soon after energy-efficient home improvements.

A Minnick’s technician will visit your home to determine what type of insulation you currently have if you have enough attic insulation, and if it needs to be replaced. Minnick’s installs two types of insulation, spray foam, and cellulose.

Adding attic insulation can save you as much as 20% on your heating and cooling costs.

Along with adding insulation, it is good to also seal the gaps the heated air is coming through by air sealing those gaps; it will stop the heated air from getting into the attic.

Click Here to schedule your home energy audit!

When It Comes to Ice Dams, You CAN Fix Stupid!, Energy Vanguard