In the Northeast, the term “ice dam” is met with grimacing faces and curse words. Many people have just started work on the home repairs needed due to the havoc wreaked over this past winter. With repairs in full swing, now is a good time to think about making improvements to your home to protect yourself against future ice dam issues. It is better to make these improvements now while your home is already being repaired than to wait and make these improvements after your home is repaired and looks like new. Below are some improvements you can make to your home to help prevent ice dams from damaging your home again.
Insulate the Attic Floor-One of the main causes of ice dams is heat escaping into your attic and melting the bottom layer of snow on your roof, which then re-freezes when it hits the roof’s edge. Adding extra insulation to your attic floor can help keep the heat inside your home where it belongs. This is a great way to prevent ice dams and also save on your home heating bill.
Ventilate the Attic-Installing extra eave, soffit, ridge and gable vents will help the cold air flow throughout your attic. This will keep the snow from melting and re-freezing at the edge of your roof.
Install Water and Ice Shield-Water and Ice Shield is typically added to a roof at a height of about 3 feet from the roof’s edge. Having an extra few feet or (preferably) the whole roof covered in this protective membrane will help keep what water does get underneath the roof shingles from getting into your home.
Heating Coils-Heating coils are installed at the roof’s edge and heat up to keep the melting snow from re-freezing at the edge of the roof. There are certain types that can be added to gutters as well to help prevent the melting snow from freezing in your gutters, thereby eliminating the back-up of ice in the gutter and on the roof’s edge.
These are just some of the things you can do to help prevent ice dams. These mitigation tactics are suggestions for many, but be aware that there are now some insurance carriers requiring that these improvements be made to homes which have previously suffered an ice dam loss. Do you have any tips or tricks you would like to share? If so please leave them in the comments section below.