Wow! What a winter! That’s an understatement, right?
It has been so cold for so long Lake Superior, the largest fresh water lake in the world, has frozen over.
We have seen a lot of ice dams but nothing but if we had received another 12 inches of snow with this horrible cold it ice dams would have been much worse.
An Ice Dam occurs when the snow prematurely melts from the bottom down. That happens when the roof deck is warmer than the snow above. This just gets amplified with more snow and the longer it stays cold. As it melts, the snow it trickles down to the overhang and the gutters and refreezes. Another key indicator of an ice dam-water spots developing on the ceiling near the outside wall.
That is when you need to call in an expert to figure out what caused the ice dam.
When we get into the attic, we will see how much insulation you have in the attic. 15-22 inches would be the target. We the look for proper air seals around the lights and bath fans to prevent the air from drafting out of the house into the attic. It is all about keeping the conditioned air in the house. No need to heat the outside. Next, we need make sure your attic breaths. We need to see air coming in on the low edges of the roof and exhausting through the high points. So move the stuff out of the closet and stick your head up through the schedule hole into the attic. With your tape measure and flash light measure how much insulation is in your attic. Again 15-22 inches is ideal. Next turn off the flash light and look up… do you see light up high? Now, look to the low ends of the roof-you want to see light coming between each of the truss/rafters. If you don’t, your home is not “breathing”. Finally, look at the bottom side of the roof sheeting. If it is frosty, we have a problem. If it is wet, we have a problem; not taken care of and you will get mold in the attic.
This extreme cold has been building up more moisture in attics than normal. The warm moist air is condensing and freezing to the bottom edge of the roof before it is exhausted out. When it warms ,it will start to rain in your attic; frost and ice melting.
This can all be prevented if we keep the heat out of the attic and let our attics breath.