Imagining icicles hanging from a roof on a sunny winter day, sparkling in the light, brings to mind a sense of peace and comfort—a quintessential visual for the colder months of the year.
But did you know that icicles are actually a bad sign for your house, and more importantly your roof?
Icicles = Ice Dams = Poor Home Insulation!
Today, let's examine the reasons why icicles form on your roof, why icicles are an early sign of ice dams, and how you can fix the underlying issues in your home insulation for ice dam prevention.
What Causes Ice Dams and Icicles?
Icicles—and their feared older sibling, ice dams—form when the snow on certain areas of your roof melts due to warming shingles and travels down the roof towards the overhang or gutters. As it gets closer to the roofline, the singles aren't as warm, so the water freezes into ice again, and that ice collects along the edge of your roof.
The first symptom of this process is icicles. But if you let those icicles get big enough, the melted water will begin to freeze before it drips off your roof, and will build up into dams at the edge of your roofline. This happens over and over, creating larger blocks of ice that trap all water from draining off of your roof. All that standing water can create significant problems, as serious ice dams cause roof damage, and worse if that moisture is able to penetrate your home.
How to Remove Ice Dams from Your Roof
Once you have ice dams, they can be very difficult to get rid of, and while roof rakes and calcium chloride de-icing products may get you out of a pinch if you catch the dam early enough (and have a bit of luck with the weather), you may need to call for professional assistance to safely and properly melt the dam.
Preventative measures now will be much more effective than searching for ice dam removal tips or trying to find information on how to remove ice dams from your roof, after the fact.
Ice Dams Are Directly Connected to Your Attic Insulation!
Now that we've explained the process of ice dams forming, we need to step back and look at the chain of events. What created the warming shingles in the first place that first started this entire process?
The answer is poor attic insulation! When you have spotty or underperforming insulation in your home in the winter, you're letting a significant amount of conditioned heat from your furnace, boiler, or heat pump escape out of the living spaces in your home, warming the underside of your roofing materials, where the heat conducts out to your shingles.
There are many benefits to insulating your attic, including:
- Preventing ice dams
- Lowering heating and cooling bills
- Improving indoor home comfort
What's the Best Insulation for Your Roof?
If you're looking to insulate your attic and aren't sure what the best material to prevent ice dams next winter will be, Vermont Foam Insulation offers a number of insulation types, depending on the unique situation of your particular home, including:
Spray foam insulation
Spray foam helps control not only heat transfer, but air movement and moisture as well, making it a true all-in-one solution for your home. In your attic, spray foam is applied onto your roof rafters for insulation and protection against the outdoor elements.
Cellulose, which is made from recycled newspapers, can be blown into homes either as dense pack or loose fill. Loose fill cellulose is a popular and effective choice for attic floors.
The Best Ice Dam Prevention Is Upgrading Your Insulation
Ready to update your home with attic foam insulation? Reach out to Vermont's spray foam insulation experts. The first step before any insulation removal and replacement is started is a home energy audit, which will reveal the exact areas where your home's insulation and air sealing are weakest.
Plus, Vermont Foam Insulation can help you qualify for up to $4,000 back in insulation rebates from ENERGY STAR, making this energy efficiency upgrade for your home even more affordable.