Rockweiler Insulation: Those dirty ice dams

How ice dams form and damage a home

Verona, WI. People know Wisconsin for its bitter cold winters and everything that goes with it—freezing cold temps, brutally strong winds and pointy icicles lining the rooftops. However, Renee Wilson, the President at Rockweiler Insulation wants to help curtail one of these images.

“I’m not promising to get rid of the awful cold or the winds, but icicles, which can be a sign of an ice dam, we can do something about that,” says Renee.

Many people think icicles just go hand in hand with winter. After all, it is cold and therefore they must form. However, it could be a strong indication of inadequate air sealing/insulation levels in the home.

Three things are necessary to create ice dams.

· Snow

· Heat to warm up the snow

· And cold to refreeze the snow as ice

That’s all that is required. Snow comes to rest on top of the roof; warm air rising through the attic heats it up, turning it to water. It can then slide down the roof before it hits something cold, usually the rain gutter. Once there it refreezes into chunks of solid ice. Some water flows over these dams in trickles, forming the icicles, but the remainder stays behind the dam as water on the roof. This water can then seep inside the house through shingles, soaking attic insulation and over time, destroying the homes roof. The ice dam can cause costly moisture damage to ceilings, walls, plaster, thus, possibly becoming a breeding ground for the formation of hidden mold.

How do they form then? It’s obvious where the snow and cold come from, but where does the warmth originate? That emanates from the warm house itself. Various failings in a home’s envelope can allow heat to escape through the roof and provide the warmth necessary to create ice dams. This warmth can come from the lack of air sealing, inadequate attic insulation levels, improperly vented fans, and through various heat escape pathways.“If the heat escapes, ice dams and icicles can form,” says Wilson.

Some people try getting rid of the ice dams by using physical force or a “roof rake.” Wilson recommends against this, because it presents danger to both the homeowner and the house. Instead, she recommends having a professional (roofer) safely remove the ice dam. Then, have a licensed home/insulation contractor inspect the homes insulation to help prevent future ice dams.

About Rockweiler Insulation
Rockweiler Insulation was founded by Gary Rockweiler, Renee Wilson’s father, in 1983 with one truck. The family owned company has since grown to 15 employees and 10 trucks. Rockweiler Insulation is an A+ rated business by the Better Business Bureau, and is a 2010 recipient of the Super Service Award from Angie’s List. Rockweiler Insulation is the recipient of a 2011 Wisconsin Family Business Award, and a 2011 Dane County Small Business Award. Website: