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Shawner 01-07-2013 08:55 PM

Attic venting in the winter
One of my previous posts was asking about ice dams. Message back was that if the attic is properly air sealed, insulated and vented.... there shouldn't be any problems.

Not having much luck with the venting thing.... the insulation is stuffed into the soffit bays (?) and there is a piece of 4" pipe running down every 3rd bay (instead of a baffle). I should have every bay vented but can't get in from the attic to clear the insulation away (too tight). Will need to pull down the soffits to get at it and sort of want to wait til the spring so I don't slide off the roof with the snow.

Anyways, couple questions...

1) I had a ridge vent at the top cap but this probably applies for other roof vents. In the wintertime when I've got 18" of snow on the roof, the ridge vent is completely covered. Sort of kills the venting, right?

2) Mentioned that I can't do much to fix the venting at this time. What can I do as a stopgap to keep ice dams from forming? I've been clearing the snow with a roof rake (6' up from the edge) to try to keep the gutters clear and it seems to be working.....


Wuzzat? 01-08-2013 09:00 AM


Originally Posted by Shawner (Post 81885)
What can I do

A switch with neon light mounted on the ceiling of a closet that bypasses your attic fan's thermostat so you can run the fan in the winter during the times that ice dams may form? The light goes on whenever the fan is running for whichever reason.
I wired this up one time when everyone around here was having ice dams for some reason, but I never got a chance to test it. If I get ice dams they don't leak into the house, that I can see, but others had their drywall damaged during that peculiar winter.

The choice seems to be to make the roof surface cold or the overhang surface hot. Or. . .maybe salt the overhangs after you confirm that this chemical fix won't damage the shingles.

Your being near a lake may make it worse.

nealtw 01-08-2013 09:19 AM

I am not sure what is suppost to happen when the roof vents are totaly plugged but if the heat can move up into the attic, I would think it would dissapate and not cause a problem. I think if you had the baffles you would be fine. Your guy understude he needed air movement but didn't know why. Keeping the edge of the roof clean will allow water to run off when the snow melts and should prevent damming.

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