I've booked an excessive amount of ice dam calls (for help) this winter season and Infrared (Thermal) Imaging has assisted me in locating the exact cause of every last one of these ice dams.
Ice dams in Massachusetts are becoming a nuisance and are causing expensive damage to many soffit areas, gutters and the most outer portion of living area walls. First let me explain how this massive ice mound forms on the edge of your roof.
It snows and your roof will continue to accumulate this snow.
The temperature (outside) drops to below freezing.
The temperature inside your attic is above freezing, thus raising the temperature of your roofing material to above freezing.
Because of the temperature differential and the warmer roof, the snow on top of the roof starts to slowly melt and the melted snow (now water) starts to cascade down the roof (underneath all the accumulated snow) in an attempt to drain off the roof or into your gutters.
As soon as the water reaches the outer edge of the roof (where the roof will not be as warm as the attic cavity) it gets exposed to the freezing air. The cascading water now freezes into an ice mound along the edges of your roof and the gutters (if applicable).
As more and more melted snow (water) continues to cascade down your roof, it continues to freeze behind and on top of the previously frozen run off, forming a much larger ice dam. Once this ice dam takes shape, it will literally trap any water that is attempting to drain down and off the roof. Now, all the melting water is dammed and has nowhere to drain to, so it builds up. This accumulating water is simply backing up and is forced right under your roofing material and into your attic or soffit cavity (and then gravity takes over), and this water infiltration simply drips down onto your living area walls, causing the nuisance staining and damage that you are observing throughout your walls.
Preventing this ice from forming on the edge of your roof in the first place is absolutely preventable. Many homeowners are continuously researching articles on “HOW TO PREVENT ICE DAMS” and they learn that proper insulation and ventilation is necessary to prevent these ice dams. That’s fine, but after most homeowners obtain their education on “HOW TO PREVENT ICE DAMS” they may attempt to correct their ice dam situation, but are still baffled and are unable to figure out exactly where any improvement is needed. That’s why they call me.
Your solution to alleviate your ice dam issues is the use of Infrared technology. My infrared inspection is a brilliant method of providing you with an instant snapshot of any active heat loss through the most outer portion of your walls and ceilings of your home. Deficient insulation is a poor insulator, which makes it a great conductor of your conditioned air, and this is what enables me to easily detect the inefficient insulation in these areas. Thermal imaging will visually show thermal mapping of any improperly insulated ceiling and wall cavities that are causing the ice damming at the outer roof edges of your home.
Take a look at the images below and see how easy Infrared detects un-insulated cavities where ice dams are imminent...
Infrared clearly detects cold air (blue color) infiltrating the living area
Infrared detects an entire ceiling cavity missing insulation
Thermal imaging detects cold spots from improperly installed soffit vents
Infrared detects insulation issues above this bathroom ceiling.