A cozy house with Christmas lights and sparkling icicles – a typical winter image. Those icicles might look pretty, but they’re actually a sign of poor insulation and, most likely, ice dams. After last winter, ice dams are particularly familiar to most people living in colder regions – unfortunately! While they might appear unassuming and harmless, they can really wreak havoc on your home.
But how do these ice dams actually form? A warm attic (>32°F) melts snow on the roof, and colder outside temperatures (<32°F) cause the water to refreeze as it trickles down across the eave. The eave projects out beyond the house, so it’s unheated by the attic air. In the short time the water takes to cross the eave, it freezes one thin layer at a time until it builds up into an ice dam, often many inches thick. To avoid this problem, any paths for warm house air to enter the attic, such as bathroom fans, recessed lights, etc., must be sealed up. Plus attics must be both well-insulated and well ventilated. The insulation lets less heat from the house enter the attic, and the ventilation flushes away any heated air that does get through. Besides ensuring your attic is well-insulated, heated gutter mats are a great option for preventing ice dams. Gutter cables are less effective since they only heat a small area and ice can still form in the gutters.
It can be overwhelming if your home is affected by ice dams and their accompanying issues, but the solution is actually pretty simple. Alpine’s fully insured and trained crews use safe and effective steam guns to cut through even the thickest ice. This divides the dams into manageable blocks which are then safely removed from the roof. If any water damage to the interior of your house has occurred, Alpine can also take care of this by drying the building materials out to prevent any further damage from occurring. Any unresolved issues can later cause significant mold growth and structural impairment, so a quick response is particularly important.
With ice dam removal projects costing around $1,500 or less, steam ice dam removal is a simple, inexpensive option for getting rid of troublesome and potentially disastrous ice dams before water starts flowing into your home. Feel free to contact us if you have any questions or ice dam problems and our team can bring their experience and expertise to your home!