Missing insulation found by Nonprofit Home Inspections.

Missing insulation can lead to ice dams.

Water is one of the most damaging factors that contribute to the deterioration of a home and when it comes in the form of ice, the results can lead to a significant number of problems. Ice can not only damage the rainwater management system (gutters and downspouts) around a home, but can also wreak havoc by causing a phenomenon known as “Ice Dams”. These ice dams can cause water to back up into the eaves and lead to water leakage into the attic and living space.

Ice dams are caused when snow on a roof melts and runs down to the gutters and re-freezes. The snow is first melted by the warm air inside the attic space which heats the underside of the roof. As the water runs towards the gutters, it comes in contact with the roof over the eaves and freezes as this area is not heated by the warm air in the attic. As more water accumulates and re-freezes, blocking more melted snow and growing the ice accumulation, some of this water is forced under the shingles. Eventually, more water accumulates under the shingles and re-freezes, lifting the shingles and allowing more water to enter. This leads to leakage into the attic space and potentially into the living space. The heavy weight of the ice along the eaves can also fill the gutters and bend, damage, or even tear the gutters off of the home.

Some signs of potential ice dams around a home include:

1. Icicles on or around gutters and eaves on the exterior of the home
2. Visible ice build up in the soffits or soffit vents
3. Ice or water stains on the siding
4. Water around or inside of window frames
5. Water stains on interior ceilings near the eaves

Soffit vents provide intake air for ventilating the attic space.

Inadequate ventilation can lead to ice dams.

Common causes for ice damming include too little or missing insulation inside of the attic space. Since ice dams usually start due to warm air inside of an attic space melting snow on the roof, adding insulation and preventing air leakage from the interior to the attic space is essential in preventing ice damming conditions from occurring. Having baffles installed around soffits vents will help to keep insulation from falling and blocking the soffit vents. Inadequate ventilation is another common cause for ice dams and can be rectified by ensuring that there is adequate intake and exhaust ventilation inside the attic space.