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Nipping ‘ice dams’ in the bud

Proper attic insulation, vents are keys to prevention

As winter's cold weather approaches again, you may be remembering back to those frightening buildups of ice on your roof that you've had to contend with in years past. Known as ice dams, they can present a lot of potential problems for your roofing, attic, insulation and other parts of your home. The time to deal with an ice dam is before it occurs, not after. So you might want to consider taking some steps to prevent their occurrence before winter really tightens its grip on your home. How ice dams occur As snow falls, it builds up on the roof. If the daytime temperatures are low, the snow won't melt, and the layer continues to grow. In the meantime, you've got the heat on inside your home to keep things warm. Some of that heat is inevitably lost into the attic, and once it gets there, it rises until it contacts the underside of the roof. With an insulating snow layer above and heat below, the snow on the roof begins to melt from the bottom. A film of water is created be...