What is Your Roof Telling You About Your Insulation?
February 16, 2017
What does your roof look like?
Recent snowstorms and the state of your roof can tell you a lot about your home's insulation! An improperly insulated home will have patchy snow, icicles, and ice dams on the roof like the picture on the left. This indicates that your home is leaking heat through your roof, melting and re-freezing moisture left by snow. This can cause serious damage to your roof, water damage to your home, and cost you hundreds of dollars in wasted heat.
A well insulated house will have a perfect blanket of snow the next day, like the photo on the right. This shows that there is no substantial heat leakage from your home into your attic and out through your roof.
What is an ice dam?
An ice dam forms when the heat coming up from your improperly insulated attic warms your roof and melts snow. The water hits the eve hanging over your home and re-freezes, causing ice to build up in sheets and in icicles. These ice sheets can force their way under your shingles and re-melt, this time into your home, causing damage and mold.
How do I prevent ice dams?
If your home has a professionally installed blanket of insulation in the attic all the way to the eves, you should not get ice dams. Skylights, certain bath fans, and recessed lights that are not rated to be covered can cause breaks in the insulation that can create hot spots, but a properly insulated attic will protect your home. Products like heating coils will treat the symptom, but not the problem -- heat escaping from your home.
How much insulation do I need?
Building codes in the Northeast usually only require an R-38, but the Department of Energy strongly recommends installing an R-49 for New England homes. If your insulation is over 20 years old, if you have rodent problems, or if your insulation has gotten moldy, you may have once had a proper amount of insulation, but it has almost certainly become insufficient.
Need more insulation? Give us a call at (888) 840-6641! We offer free consultations all over CT and Western MA.