Bet you can’t tell which house has almost no attic insulation? The freezing temperatures combined with our recent blizzard makes it easy to spot these houses. The sad thing was every house on this block was like this! Just imagine if everyone spent $300 two decades ago to insulate these homes how many thousands and thousands of dollars of heat loss would have been saved per home!!!
There are so many older homes in Omaha like the one above. When you have poor insulation or no insulation at all, heat escapes up through your roof melting the snow causing these long icicles to form and ice to back up.
What is Ice Damming?
When snow melts too fast from a sunny day, then freezes again on the cold nights, the water takes the path of least resistance. If there’s enough snow or the pitch of the roof isn’t that much, the water can actually flow “backwards” up under the shingles and lead to a roof leak. This is called ice damming.
How Do You Prevent Ice Damming?
1. If it’s safe to do so, take a roof rake and scrape the deep snow off of a roof. This eliminates the water’s ability to get blocked by snow and back up under the shingles.
2. If your roof has hard to reach areas or has a slope-to-slope or slope-to-wall design, installing heat tape along these areas near the eave or valleys will prevent the ice from excessively forming in the first place.
3. Make sure your attic is well insulated. Any area of heat loss can cause the deep snow to melt too fast leading to ice damming. Today’s homes should have R-50 which is around 17″ of loose blown Fiberglass or 13″ of Cellulose. Roxul insulation batts can be crisscrossed to hit the R-50 also. Canned lights, chimney chases, openings over kitchen cabinets, missing insulation, etc. can all cause this. Homes from the 90’s and early 2000’s should have R-38 or 12″-14″ of Fiberglass or 10″ of Cellulose.