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Preventing Ice Dams
During cold winter months, a row of icicles on your home’s eaves may be a sign that a ridge of ice is forming at the edge of the roof. This ridge, also known as an ice dam, can be the result of uneven heat loss from your home, which causes the roof to warm above freezing and melt accumulated snow. When the snow melts and then re-freezes before reaching the roof’s edge, an ice dam forms, causing water to collect behind it. This pool of water can cause extensive damage to the roof, attic, ceilings, walls and contents of your home.
You can prevent the formation of ice dams by following these tips:
- Keep the attic well ventilated. One-third square metre of free ventilation opening is recommended for every 45 square metres of attic space.
- Seal air leaks to prevent warm air leakage from plumbing vents, attic hatches and junction boxes.
- Keep the attic floor well insulated (between 40 and 56 centimetres of insulation) to minimize the amount of heat rising into the attic from below.
- Clean leaves and other debris from gutters before the first snow to help prevent ice buildup.
- Install an ice shield under your shingles if you’re considering getting a new roof.
- Use a roof rake to clear snow about one metre above the gutters to allow water to drain freely.
- Consider hiring an energy specialist to evaluate the performance of your home and recommend some things you can do to minimize energy waste.
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