Jan 11, 2020

Ice Dam Prevention Techniques

Our team answers homeowner questions every weekend on WCCO 830 AM from 9:00 am-10:00 am.  Have your most pressing home improvement questions addressed by calling or texting 651-989-9226.  Here’s the must-know information our COO, Andy Lindus, shared on 1.11.20.

The show’s first caller was Robin from Forest Lake, MN.  His home was built in 1964.  Awhile back, he’d had an insulation contractor blow-in an additional foot of insulation into his attic.  The contractor had also made enhancements to the home’s ventilation.  Last year, for the first time, Robin had experienced ice dams on his home.  He was curious to know if the -50° temperatures last year were the culprit or if his home needed additional insulation and ventilation.

ice dam

While diagnostic testing is the best way to determine this, it’s possible the home’s ice dams were due to the extreme temperatures of the previous winter.  When exterior temperatures reach -50° the pressure difference between the inside and outside of the house are tremendous.  This accentuates the stack effect.  This means that cold air is traveling down your walls from the attic needs to be replaced.  Frequently, this air is replaced with the warm air in your house.  When the warm air travels upward to the attic, it quickly comes in contact with cold surfaces in the attic, causing frost in the attic and heat loss on the roof.  When a roof experiences heat loss, the snow on the roof will melt, leading to ice dam formation.  If ice dams continue to form on your home year after year, it’s wise to consult with a reputable insulation and ventilation contractor that can also evaluate if the attic ventilation is working as a system and that elements are not competing.  Simply adding more insulation to an attic without taking a hard look at ventilation and attic air sealing can create more problems than it solves.

insulation and ventilation

Quality insulation contractors have an array of diagnostic tools that they can use to understand where a home is losing energy.  In addition to smoke sticks and infrared imaging, blower doors can also be used.  A blower door looks like a giant screen door with a fan attached to it.  The fan creates pressure that is needed to show where air infiltration is taking place.  Blower door testing works the best at the times of the year when a home’s interior temperature is similar to the exterior air temperature.

Learn More About Blower Door Testing: 


When the walls within a home need insulation, it’s unwise to add spray foam insulation with the wall sheathing still in place.  This can lead to numerous voids being left unaddressed.  Insulation can also be present that prevents the spray foam from expanding evenly, which will lead to the creation of hot and cold spots within the insulation.  This encourages the formation of condensation.  When this happens on the inside of a wall, dry rot and mold quickly commence.  When insulating a wall, it’s best practice to remove the sheathing and all the old insulation before proceeding.  The home’s siding can also be removed so that air sealing and insulated house wrap can be added.

Listen to the Entire Show Here: 

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Roof Insulation & Ventilation Reviews:

"We would like to acknowledge the exceptional customer service we have received from your liaison, Joel Sunde. Joel has gone above and beyond all expectations to assist us in resolving our repeated issues with ice dams and roofing. He always responds promptly to our questions and concerns by phone, text, email, or an in-person visit, if needed. Joel is an excellent example of what a true customer liaison should be, You are fortunate to have him on the Lindus team."-Joe & Marcia B.

Joe & Marcia B.
St. Paul, MN
January 13, 2021

"They sprayed foam in my 110-year-old attic to provide a vapor barrier and then added cellulose over the top.  My contacts with them were always professional and courteous.  They cared about keeping me happy.  I didn't hire them because they are a bargain, but because they do quality work!"

Harold F.
Minneapolis, MN
November 6, 2020

"You were so patient and accommodating with all of our questions. The attention to detail by everyone was so good to see and made us confident we had made the right choice. We are happy and satisfied with all the work.  Now we hope to see substantial savings on our heating and air conditioning." 

Jim P.
St. Paul, MN
May 2, 2020

"We appreciate the professionalism that every team that visited showed us and our house.  Thank you very much."

Ryan F.
Lakeville, MN
April 3, 2020

"Lindus was not the cheapest bidder. But they were upfront about what needed to be done. They showed up when they said they would. They responded to emails and voicemails. They fixed problems and drove the project home. Was really grateful for the honesty, the integrity, and the attention to detail."

Patrick M.
St. Paul, MN
February 7, 2020

"I can’t rave enough about the customer service! I expressed my curiosity of an estimate.  Dylan made the process very explainable and broke it down to me in levels of importance first and what we need to do in the future.  I am looking forward to doing my home improvement w/ a business that understands my needs and is willing to work with me.  Thanks Lindus Construction!"  

Jess H.
Woodville, WI
January 23, 2020
Complimentary Estimates. We Are Also Offering A No-Charge Heat Map Analysis With Insulation Estimates Through January 31st.
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