Ice dams are a chronic problem during Massachusetts winters. No matter what part of the state you’re in, you’re likely to see these bulging ridges of ice forming at the bottom of your home’s roof. Ice dams can do significant damage to your home, both outside and in. And if a heavy ice dam ever falls, whatever is below is likely to be crushed by the impact.

Ice dam formation is well understood: a warm roof melts the snow, which refreezes when it drains down to the roof’s edge. As more snow melts and runs down to the edge of the roof, the larger the ice dams become. The presence of rain gutters only exacerbates the problem.Diagram explaining ice dam formation

The damage that ice dams can do to your home is significant.

  • As ice dams build up, the possibility of meltwater penetrating underneath the shingles increases. Meltwater penetration shortens the life of the roof shingles, adds unnecessary weight to the roof, and can ruin interior walls and ceilings.
  • This weight of the ice dams puts stress on gutters, which causes unwanted disfigurement.
  • If the ice dam breaks off, it can take whatever it’s frozen to with it: rain gutters and shingles included.

If meltwater penetrates your roof, it will flow into your attic and possibly further into your home.

  • Meltwater that leaks into your ceiling or walls can weaken the drywall or plaster. Plus it looks pretty gross.
  • Water can ruin certain types of insulation, reducing your home’s effective R-value (ability to insulate).
  • The presence of water creates a breeding ground for mold– which will become a primary worry once the weather gets warmer again.

Stop ice dams before they start!

Since ice dams form when a warm roof melts snow, a well-sealed and well-insulated attic can be a powerful preventative measure. As your home is heated, the heat rises which finds its way into the attic. A warm attic means a warm roof, and warm roof means ice dams.

Sealing and insulating your attic keeps more of your home’s heat inside instead of letting it melt the snow on your roof. Of course, there’s the added perk of keeping that heat inside. You spend less on heating to keep your home more comfortable!

Homeworks Energy can seal and insulate your attic, and help you pay for it. Following a no-cost in-home energy assessment, our Home Energy Specialists can help qualify you for 75% off home insulation (up to $2000), and 0% HEAT loans to cover the remaining costs.

What this means to you is minimizing the potential damage from ice dams, for a quarter of its usual cost, and interest-free financing of the remainder. Plus you get a more energy-efficient, less costly, more comfortable home!