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What's Up with All the Ice Dams?

Answering questions, offering solutions

By: | March 12, 2019

Ice Dams

This winter’s excessive snow and cold temperatures have caused ice dams on rooftops across our northern states and mountain region. Xcel Energy has expert advice to help you solve the problem now and in the future.

What causes ice dams?

Ice dams start with snow. It accumulates on your roof and doesn’t have time to melt before more snow falls. Heat escapes your home, into the attic, and heats up the underside of your roof. This melts the bottom layers of snow. That water runs down underneath the rest of the snow and when it reaches the eave, it freezes. The ice dam can damage roof shingles and could cause water to leak into your home if the ice dams are big enough.

Why does Xcel Energy care about ice dams?

Ice dams are a sign of wasted energy. They can cause significant damage to homes, and we want everyone to be in safe, comfortable, and durable houses. Xcel Energy has tools to reduce or eliminate ice dams in your home and can pay you rebates to help prevent them.

What is the solution?

It’s a two-step process of air sealing and then insulating the attic.

Air sealing prevents the warm air from escaping into the attic to melt the snow through convection. Insulating on top of that air sealing keeps the heat in, which prevents it from radiating to your roof and melting the snow. As an added benefit, this saves a fantastic amount of heating energy, and rebates are available to help offset the cost of the new materials.

What are ways to air seal and insulate my attic?

While you might be able to do it yourself, a contractor will have the abilities, skills, and tools to do the job right the first time.

Any steps to mitigate ice dams will seem like a lot of work but will dramatically reduce or even eliminate them forever. Xcel Energy has a list of participating contractors who can help you. They are familiar with insulation and air sealing problems and can bring you some peace of mind that you have a professional helping solve your energy loss issues. And when it comes to getting the right rebates, they can help you with that, too.

What should I ask the contractor?

First, Xcel Energy can help you find qualified contractors. Use the contact information below and our partners will help you out from the start.

If you want to go straight to a contractor, these questions are a good place to start:

  • Are you licensed and insured?
  • What materials will you use to air seal the attic floor?
  • How much insulation does my attic need?
  • Do you offer a blower door test or infrared scan to locate leaks?
  • What rebates are available for this work and can you help me complete the rebate paperwork?

What about rebates?

Xcel Energy offers rebates for properly installed insulation as well as programs in Minnesota and Colorado that can combine multiple efficiency improvements that mitigate ice dams and pay higher than normal rebates. To start, you’ll receive a comprehensive energy audit with a list of recommended improvements. If you have significant ice damming, air sealing and insulation will likely be on that list.

Call our program partner, CEE, at 651-328-6224 and ask for a Whole Home Efficiency visit.*

Call our program partner, CLEAResult at 303-446-7910 and ask for a Home Performance visit.*

Once all of your applications are complete, we’ll send your rebate check.

* Some rebate programs require that you use an eligible participating contractor to complete the efficiency improvement.

 

 

 

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Erin
Erin

I get to tell our great energy efficiency stories on both the residential and business sides. How fun? If this story doesn’t resonate with you, look around. I’m sure there’s something here that will provide an idea or thought starter to help you save energy and money.