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Champaign Roofing: Article About How To Prevent Ice Dams

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One problem that plagues many homeowners who live in colder climates is the formation of ice dams. These ice ridges typically form around the eaves and gutters of a roof. Eventually, as ice dams grow, they can wreak havoc and cause damage to the roof, substructure, insulation, interior walls and ceilings. The time to take care of ice dams is before they start.

A Champaign roofing contractor will be able to provide effective solutions to help homeowners prevent the formation of ice dams on their roof. One of the biggest problems that can lead to ice dams is an attic that is not properly insulated. Most homeowners think of insulation as a way to keep out the cold; however, when it comes to roofs in cold weather climates, it is also important to keep indoor heat from escaping through the roof and warming the underside of the accumulated snow.

In order to understand the importance of insulation, it is necessary to understand how ice dams form. Typically, ice dams will form when temperatures fall below freezing for several days with a heavy snowfall that leaves snow standing on the roof. As heat escapes the home and penetrates the underside of the roof, the standing snow begins to melt. However, the entire roof is not warmed; it is typically the higher sections, such as those near the roof's ridge.

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This leaves roof sections near the eaves still cold, staying below the freezing point. As the snow melts, the water starts to trickle towards the still frozen roof edges. It hits the cold and freezes to form ice ridges, commonly known as ice dams.

Attic spaces that are not properly insulated can allow the heat transfer from the home to start this process. Not only should the roof and attic be insulated for the climate with the proper insulation R value, but it is also important to block any air leaks that could bring warm air up into the attic. This includes sealing around vents and fans that pass through the ceiling and then through the attic.

Improper insulation is certainly not the only cause of ice dams. Many homes that experience problems with ice dams lack adequate ventilation under the roof. In order to keep the roof cold, good attic ventilation is a necessity. Attic, soffit or eave vents can draw cold air into the attic while pushing warm air out. With good ventilation, the underside of the roof can remain cold and prevent heat transfer to the snow.

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