Union County Roofers: Article About How Ice Dams Form
Keeping an attic properly ventilated and insulated isn't just about keeping heating costs down, although that is important. If an attic is emitting heat, it can cause snow to melt when the temperatures outside are still freezing. When this occurs, water will run down the roof until it encounters freezing air, and it can turn into icicles.
This normally occurs around the edges of a roof. It can both cause gutters to freeze as well as create wall of ice, or ice dam, which prevents additional melted snow from going anywhere. Large amounts of water may gather, and the snow, ice and water can add a huge burden to the roof. This can create depressions in the roof, encourage leaks to form and even cause gutters to pull away from the roof if they freeze.
Union County roofers can help to prevent ice dams from forming by helping to ensure that the roof is not warmer than outside temperatures. It is best to deal with an insulation or ventilation issue, but if this is not possible, heating strips can also be installed.
When an attic isn't properly insulated, heat can easily escape it. It is important that an attic has not just the correct type of insulation, such as blown in insulation in areas that are irregularly shaped to ensure that all areas are filled, but an attic also needs to have the correct R value.
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The R value of a material is how much heat transfer it resists, and the colder areas are, the higher the R value of insulation needs to be. Insulation also needs to be in good shape to prevent heat transfer. This means it should be densely packed and dry.
Ensuring that an attic is properly ventilated can also help prevent ice dams from forming. Moving air creates natural convection, which is to say that it is a source of warmth. Vented soffits can be installed along the edges of a roof where ice dams normally form. Air flowing in through the soffits can provide just enough heat to prevent melted snow from freezing.
Heating strips can also be put in under shingles to ensure that snow on a roof melts. There are a wide variety of strips available, and strips no longer need to run all of the time to do their job, so newer heating strips do not waste energy. They can be set to run during certain times or when a particular amount of moisture is detected.