It's been an unseasonably warm winter so far and in the North East I even had friends that were able to grill outside the day before Christmas – unheard of! But temperatures have dropped in recent days and at long last it feels as though the sort of winter we have grown accustomed to in recent years is here.
The damage that occurred last year is still fresh in the memory as record setting winter storms caused billions of dollars of losses and left many homeowners wondering how they can prevent damage caused by bursting pipes, roof collapses, and ice dams in particular. If you, like me, are no expert on ice-damming you might have surfed the web to get up to speed. The more I learned, the more bewildered I was about certain "solutions" that are available in the market and that homeowners discuss in forums.
So what are ice dams? Ice dams are frozen water on the edge of sloping roofs. They form when melting snow flows down the roof and refreezes before the water can drain. Once an ice-dam has built up, water from newly melted snow accumulates and can seep into your house over time. But what causes ice dams? Simply put, the root cause is inadequate insulation, allowing heat from the house to escape and warm the roof from below. Imagine how surprised I was to read about roof heating elements, heating wires, heat tapes etc to combat ice-damming. Throwing even more energy at a problem caused by inefficient use of energy, really? This doesn't sound like a smart idea, but maybe I'm missing something here? And what about damage to your roof from "toasting" it?
Keeping your roof cool seems a far better solution. Energy-efficient ways to achieve this are through better insulation and natural ventilation. Check-out the 'Freezing Weather Maintenance Checklist' from IBHS, an independent, nonprofit research organization, for more tips. Some of these seem pretty simple to implement.
Category: Climate/natural disasters: Floods/storms, Resilience
Location: United States