Connecticut Ice Dams and Why They Form

Have you ever experienced ice dams on your own home or know someone that had them? In the worst cases water leaks inside the home. About 90% of the time the leaks will occur over a window or door. leaks can also occur in the vicinity of bathroom vents and central air vents in the ceiling as well. The common element these things have is they are leaking hot air from the living space into the attic or crawl space. From there the process is simple. That heated air travels up to your roofs deck just under the shingles and starts to melt the snow on your roof from the bottom. There is a freeze and thaw process that happens and that’s where the ice dams start to grow. Most ice dams begin to form at the eave or in the vicinity of your gutters. In some cases ice dams start to form higher up on the roof maybe in the area of a type of vent on or under the roof. Once the freeze and thaw process starts it grows the ice dams. Soon the water cannot travel down the roof and it goes up your roof instead. Once the water starts to travel up the roof it goes under your shingles and if there is no ice and water barrier or other protection in place under your shingles the water will find a place to come inside.

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Most of the time Ice Dams are blamed on the gutters while certain gutters can aid in the process they are not to blame. Heat coming from inside a living space that escapes into the attic or crawl space is the reason why ice dams form. So, how do you stop it? Proper ventilation, Having the correct amount and type of ventilation on your home in regards to your soffit / eave vents and your ridge vent make all the difference. But, it has to be free flowing and not blocked by your attic insulation. Attic insulation that is pushed into the eave area will not let the cool outside air into your attic and stabilize (or cool) temperatures. This can be an easy fix in some cases but, some homes need the ventilation brought up to building code. Sometimes you might have the proper amount of ventilation it’s just that your attic insulation is blocking it. Try this test, Go into your attic on the next sunny day and look toward your eaves. Can you see daylight the whole length of the eaves? If you can you have ventilation that is unblocked that’s a good thing, whether it’s enough that needs to be verified. If you don’t see daylight the air is not getting through whether you have the correct amount of ventilation or not. If water and or air is getting into the attic space mold can easily form along the eaves and eventually cause other problems like delaminating the plywood on the underside of your roof. If you would like to learn more about ice dams on your Connecticut home read our Free 10 page guide on Connecticut Ice Dams Here. Not sure if you have any of the requirements for proper roof / attic ventilation give Premium Siding & Windows a call at 203-735-5450 or use our contact form. We will be happy to help.