Now, we know that you will want to be out hiking, fishing, and swimming now that it’s summer in Angel Fire, but if you battled ice dams a few months ago, don’t put off dealing with them until fall. You will rest easier knowing that you won’t have to deal with that again the sooner the problem is fixed for good!
There are quick-fix solutions that you might have implemented, including raking the snow off of your roof or adding electric heat tape on your shingles right at the edge of the roof. Neither of these actually solve the problem though and they aren’t good solutions. The only real way to stop ice dams is to make sure that your actual woof stays cold in the winter when the rest of your home is nice and toasty.
Hiring a professional might be your best solution, but if you’re determined to do this yourself, you will have to block all air leaks that lead to the attic and separate the actual roof from the living space. You may need to increase the thickness of the insulation at the attic floor. If you don’t have a continuous soffit and ridge vent system, that’s another important step. The air and insulation barrier needs to be continuous though. So, check for areas of non-insulation around outlets, vents and other areas. The entire roof, in every way, should be separated from the warm living space. You will probably need spray foam to get into smaller areas. You will probably have to go up into your attic and check behind the insulation to see if you need to use foam, especially with low roof angles.
Building codes mandate that there should be about 12 to 14 in. of fiberglass or cellulose, but if you have an ice dam problem, you should add about eight more inches on top of that. Blown-in cellulose usually fills more tightly around rafters and joists and leaves fewer gaps, so it’s something to keep in mind. If you go into your attic and you see darkened insulation, it usually isn’t mold. It’s usually actually dust and that dust can tell you where air is leakin. See, the insulation acts like an air filter, so darkened areas just scream, “Air is passing through here!” You can rake away that area and find exactly where the leak is coming from and address it with a patch of some kind or spray foam. Attic bypasses are the biggest concern that you will find here, and they need to be sealed up!
Sometimes air can get into the walls from gaps in drywall and cracks around plumbing and light fixtures and then go on up. So, insulating and closing up these leaks helps a lot.
We found an awesome video that explains everything about ice dams. Check it out!
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