Sustainable Resources Center, Inc.
1081 Tenth Avenue S.E.
Minneapolis, MN 55414

612-870-4255 | fax 612-870-0729

   

ICE DAM CAUSES

Ice dams form on many Minnesota homes in the winter and spring months. They are easy to identify from the outside: Look for a thick shelf of ice along the lower edge of your roof. Ice dams may dislodge shingles, break gutters, cause interior leakage, and eventually lead to major structural damage.

Rooftop snow melts on warm or sunny days, or when warm interior air escapes into the attic and heats up the roof surface. Snowmelt freezes along the edge of the roof, where conditions are usually colder. Freeze-thaw cycles lead to the buildup of a thick dam of ice, which causes new snowmelt to accumulate behind it. Water and ice back up, pushing underneath shingles like a homegrown glacier. The meltwater then seeps under shingles, through roof joints, through attic insulation, and ultimately through your interior ceiling. You may experience active drips or just an ominous stain as the first sign of damage.

What causes ice dams?

Though a recurring cycle of cold and warm winter days can start the ice dam process, the most likely cause of ice dams is warm air leaking into your attic from the heated rooms of your house. This warm air bypasses your ceiling through exterior joints, or through other openings such as those for recessed lighting fixtures, plumbing, retractable attic staircases, or chimneys.

Diagnosing ice dams 

Sustainable Resources Center’s energy analysts run a blower door test, inspect your walls and attic for insulation levels, and check for attic bypasses. SRC analysts use an infrared scanner to "see" areas in your home where insulation is missing.

After the inspection is complete, we summarize our diagnostic findings and write detailed specifications for each step required to reduce your ice dam problems.

Reducing ice dam problems

Though no one can guarantee that ice dams will be prevented, there are several steps that can be taken to at least minimize their occurrence. Sealing all attic bypasses with caulk, sheet metal, plastic sheeting, and foam to analyst’s specifications can go a long way toward eliminating ice dams. Adding an appropriate level of insulation to the attic helps keep warm air out.


Sustainable Resources Center’s contractors can complete all of the steps needed in ice dam reduction, employing the high quality work standards that make our organization stand out.

 

 

Contact Home Performance Solutions to discuss your needs and how we can help!