Minnesota Ice Dam Prevention
Snow. If you live in the Minnesota, you know it comes with the territory. Unfortunately, many Minnesota home owners will experience a condition called ice damming, something we have to deal with throughout Minnesota winters. Though it may not seem like a big problem Ice Dams can cause serious damage to your roof as well as the structure of your home. The good news is the damage is completely preventable!
There are a few things that you, as a homeowner, can do to prevent ice dams. In many instances, the answer is… insulation and ventilation! Proper insulation and roof ventilation can stop ice dams from forming, prevent damage and lower your energy bills.
Since the main cause of ice dams is an overly warm attic, a good start in preventing ice dams is to lower the attic temperature. Installing additional insulation in the attic area is as easy as laying additional layers across the existing ones, or having more insulation blown in. However, there are limits to the usefulness of this procedure (diminishing returns), and a professional roofer or insulation person should be consulted if you have any questions.
If you notice bare sections on your roof while the rest of the roof has snow, it is an indication there may be insufficient insulation under the bare areas and an inspection of the attic area should be made to confirm this – and then to remedy the situation if necessary.
And, finally, you should also inspect the weather-stripping and/or insulation on attic stairways or hatchways to be sure it is in good shape and seals well. This will help seal the warmth out of the attic area and help prevent ice dams.
Even with optimal insulation, there is still heat leakage into the attic. This is when the value of attic ventilation becomes apparent. Without adequate ventilation, heat will build up regardless of the amount of insulation.
First of all, inspect your attic to be sure that the existing vents have not been covered by insulation or other materials or objects. If this has occurred, it is necessary to remove the insulation (or other material) from the soffits so air can move through them freely. The usual recommendation for venting is 1 square foot of vent for every 150 feet of attic floor area. If your home does not have that ratio (many older homes do not), then you should contact a Contractor to remedy the problem.
If your home does not have vents, consider adding a ridge vent. Again, a professional Contractor can give sound advice on the procedure.
If you are not sure about the condition of your roof, you should contact Minnesota Leafless Gutters for advice or assistance today at 612-221-0362!
Remember, winter is on our heels. Now is a great time to make certain you’ve cleaned the debris from your gutters. This will ensure that your gutters drain properly as the winter sun warms your rooftop and causes snow melt (it’s this very snow melt that can lead to ice dams). Keeping the gutters clean will not prevent ice dams but it will help from them overflowing in the spring and putting water against the foundation. It’s one simple step that often gets overlooked by homeowners.