Ice damns forming on the outside of a house
December 5, 2019

When it comes to mid-winter home performance headaches, it can be hard to top the frustrations that stem from ice dams on your roof. If you’ve ever had water dripping down from your ceilings without any quick way to stop it, you’ll know just how frustrating an experience it can be.

If you haven’t, consider yourself lucky you haven’t spent any time Googling “How to remove ice dam from roof immediately.” But also, take the opportunity to learn from others’ mistakes: find out how to prevent ice dams on roofs, and learn why your attic insulation in Northern VA is likely to blame!

What Causes Ice Dams?

During the winter, when your heat is blasting, warm air is circulating throughout your home, including up into the areas on the underside of your roof. Here’s what happens next to create ice dams:

  1. Indoor heat transfers through your attic ceiling, warming your roof shingles.

  2. The snow directly on top of the now heated shingles melts

  3. That melted roof water runs down your roof until it reaches a colder area. This could either be an area of your roof with poor insulation, or the eaves overhanging the sides of your house.

  4. Without heat, the water freezes, often as icicles on your eaves. The more snow that melts higher up on your roof, the bigger the icicles get, eventually forming ice dams.

  5. Newly melted water will continue to roll down your roof, but as it’s blocked by ice damming, it becomes standing water on your roof.

  6. That standing water finds its way between your shingles and into your home.

Ice dams cause all kinds of structural damage to your house, and create moisture issues hidden away inside your walls where you often can’t see them, like mold.

How to Prevent Ice Dams on Roof

How do you get rid of ice dams? While it may be too late for some homeowners reading this blog, it’s far easier to just never have to deal with ice dam removal in the first place!

That means that the solution to ice dams—how to get rid of them once and for all—is to upgrade your insulation and air sealing in your home and keep the heat from your furnace inside where it belongs.

There are a number of different insulation materials to choose from, and since every home is unique, it’s difficult to say that one kind of insulation is always better than others. But in Northern Virginia and DC, attic insulation is a must, whether it’s spray foam or fiberglass batts or blown in cellulose insulation. Proper insulation installation in your home comes with numerous benefits, including:

  • Ice dam prevention on your roof

  • Increased whole home comfort

  • Decreased heating system waste

  • Lower monthly energy bills

  • Improved indoor air quality

Call the Leading Insulation Contractor in DC and NoVA

You don’t have to live with ice dams on your roof forever. Reach out to Home Energy Medics, the leading insulation contractors in Northern Virginia. We’ll use a home energy audit to determine exactly where the insulation is weakest in your home and where you could be most susceptible to ice dams in the winter.

Then we’ll work with you to find a solution that keeps gutter ice dams away, like attic sealing with spray foam insulation. 

Take the whole home approach to winter home performance, and say goodbye to ice dams before they start. Call (703) 447-5379 or contact us to schedule your energy audit today.

Prevent ice dams from ever starting.

Upgrade your home insulation with Home Energy Medics.

(703) 447-5379


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