Prevention & Remediation of ice dams

Course Description

This is course describes the procedures for locating, prioritizing, and remediating the causes of ice dams in existing buildings. The implications of these same theories will be applied to the design of new structures.

Ice dam formation is one of the predominate problems for buildings in cold climates. The causes of such formations are often misunderstood by building owners and construction industry professionals alike. Consequently, because the heat-loss sources usually cannot be visually detected, solutions to the problem are more apt to be attempts at limiting damage from the symptoms, rather than preventing damage by eliminating the root causes of the ice dams – warm air leakage and conductive heat loss. In addition to roof leaks, hazards from falling ice and potential structural damage to the building are additional reasons to prevent ice formation rather than just addressing leakage. Systems for limiting damage and preventing the intrusion of water from ice dams into the building envelope can be successful, but are often more expensive, and do not improve the energy performance of the structures. Eliminating the actual causes of ice dams, i.e., excessive warming of the roof surfaces in sub-freezing weather, always saves energy. This program includes several case studies of buildings where conservation measures and ventilation upgrades were used to successfully remediate ice dams. These case studies clearly demonstrate cost-effective means of reducing roof warming.

Henri C. Fennell, CSI/CDT is the author of the following related paper: CASE STUDY – ICE DAM REMEDIATION FOR NORTHEAST SKI-AREA CONDOMINIUMS presented at the Thermal Performance of the Exterior Envelopes of Buildings VII Conference (1998) Sponsored by the Department Of Energy, The American Society of Heating Refrigeration and Air conditioning Engineers, and Oak Ridge National Laboratories.

What you will learn

The participants will be familiar with the basic dynamics and causes of ice dam formation and common details which lead to these conditions.

The participants will be able to identify the causes of problematic ice dam formations.

The participants will be able to decide which of the available test methods to use in locating and prioritizing the causes of ice dam formations in specific projects.

During ad after the remediation, they will be able to perform quality assurance procedures to assure the success of the remediation work.

The participants will be able to select the most appropriate strategic approach for remediating specific types of ice dam formations.

The participants will be able to determine which approach has the best ROI for various remediation and prevention approaches.