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Home Performance Testing & Ice Dams

03 March 2018

Our team answers homeowner questions every weekend on WCCO 830 AM from 9:00 am-10:00 am.  Have your most pressing home improvement questions answered by calling 651-989-9226 or texting 81807.  Here’s must-know information from Barry Stranz (professional & educator) who has 30+ years in the home improvement industry shared on 3.3.18.ice dam

One of the biggest frustrations of homeowners in the Twin Cities this winter has been the extreme temperature changes.  One of the most problematic home issues that arises are ice dams.  It’s important for homeowners to understand that the architecture of historic homes to understand that their architecture dictates what’s possible in terms of insulation and ventilation, making it imperative that a knowledgeable contractor addresses the issue.  Regardless of the age of a home, the key to ice dam prevention is to keep the surface temperature of a roof at the same temperature as the outside air.  However, once sunlight hits the roof, the temperature on the surface begins to rise and snow on the roof will begin to melt, which can create icicles.  This phenomenon can occur even within properly insulated and ventilated homes.  Valleys are a spot on a roof where two plains intersect, doubling the amount of water they come in contact with as snow on a roof begins to thaw and subsequently refreezes, creating alarming ice dams.  Roof raking can provide temporary relief.  However, when ice dams are occurring because of heat loss from a home, you should schedule an estimate with a reputable contractor that can conduct a home performance test to see what can be done.

See how a home performance test is conducted here:

The science of a building plays a significant role in the energy efficiency of a home.  In the attic, the goal is to get air to blow across the top of the insulation without displacing it.  Blown-in fiberglass or cellulose are exposed to air coming in through soffit vents and if they aren’t protected properly, they can begin to blow out of the space, creating insulation loss.  This, in turn, creates a high heat transmission location which is evident by spots of snow melting on the outside wall line of the building.  This issue is problematic in many 1950’s era homes.  Oftentimes, within 24 hours of a snowfall, there will be a melt pattern that runs parallel to the eave, about 2 feet up the roof edge, identifying a heat loss location right up the exterior wall.  This is indicative of a lack of insulation.  In addition, ice melting around skylights or bath fans highlight the fact that there may not be enough insulation around them.

Listen to the entire show here:

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