ice damming/ attic condensation and ice


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Old 12-26-09, 09:17 PM
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ice damming/ attic condensation and ice

Today, I walked into my kitchen to find that water was dripping down from above a window in the kitchen. I then went into one of my three attics to find that in this attic, it was insulated and vented incorrectly, but I also found after removing the ice in the attic and tracing out the leak, that where two points of the roof come together, i found after digging the ice out, that I was able to see that one small area of the roof was not sheeted, but where the galvanized drainage path was. It appears that the condensation formed on the back side of this piece of tin, then turned into a chunk of ice, therefore melting, and running down the kitchen wall. Does this small area that is not sheeted need to be repaired? or will proper attic insulation and venting solve this? I feel that I may have not described this issue very well, so feel free to ask more questions if anything is unclear. Thanks.
 
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Old 12-27-09, 05:24 PM
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Are you sure that it's condensation that turned to ice & not a leak from the outside?
 
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Old 12-27-09, 08:51 PM
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well, some of the ice damming occured at where the roof meets the wall, (not sure of the acutal name), all of the shutes were stuffed with insulation, and the roof had nowhere to breathe. The roof is newer, but does not appear to be vented correctly. As for the problemed area, two points of the roof meet and form a V, and there was ice where these two points met the wall. When I dug around in this area, I hit the roof flashing, so not sure if it is a point in which the roof could leak or not. The flashing was there, but is that worth anything?
 
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Old 12-28-09, 10:03 AM
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The best thing to do is to look on top of the roof first, even though you shouldn't see the flashing from inside attic. You may have to remove the insulation or install the styrofoam behind it, so it can breathe. That will only work if it's vented properly, which you said it was.
 
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Old 12-28-09, 07:15 PM
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no, I said that the roof was vented INCORRECTLY. In this attic, there no vents at all. None on the eaves, gables, or the roof... NONE AT ALL.
 
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Old 12-28-09, 08:15 PM
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Then you have to remove the insulation. I have an attic that I can't insulate for the same reason, no vents. Remove the insulation & see what happens. The only place you can have insulation is under the attic floor.
 
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Old 12-29-09, 09:19 PM
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well, i have already removed all the insulation, initially had a fan blowing warm air in the attic, to thaw out all of the ice. Where should I go from here? would it be worth adding vents at this time?
 
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Old 12-29-09, 09:51 PM
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Should I lay down a vapor barrier, cut eave vents in, and put the insulation back in?
 
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Old 12-30-09, 08:15 AM
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I opted not to do all that on my attic. I don't think it's worth the trouble to redesign the house. I just closed all the doors leading to the attic & I'm hoping it will save some heating costs. I'll know in the coming months.
 
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Old 12-30-09, 08:45 AM
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Hi cheinemann,
I reviewed your thread and still can't determine if the ice/water issue is from condensation or a water leak. That will need to be determined at some point. But ventilation or lack there of is a strong possibility. Air leaking from the house into the attic carries a lot of water with it. Are you running humidifiers in the home. That would add to the problem and indicate excess air exchange.

If venting can be added anywhere, I would add or replace the ceiling insulation and install some venting. Before the insulation goes down, there are a number of spots where some sealing will easy and effective. Nice when the insulation is out of the way. All electrical and plumbing holes. Around the chimney if one. Look for big voids, like drop ceilings over kitchen cabinets. They are often framed in with no concern that they provide a huge air path into the attic. Porch overhang. Kitchen or bath fans vented into the attic or soffits. An uncovered dirt floor in the basement will release gallons of water which can find a way into the attic. Leaky attic access.
Here is a check list of sorts that may help: http://www.efficiencyvermont.com/ste...ide_062507.pdf

Bud
 
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Old 12-30-09, 06:58 PM
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I have been meaning to upload some pictures so that the particular situation can be better understood. So look for some pics in the upcoming days, now that I am finally home from out of town. I am beginning to believe more and more that it would probably be a condensation issue. All was well, until a recent snowfall of rougly 2' occured. But, again I will upload pics to avoid any further confusion. On another note. I have currently removed all insulation from this area, first in order to thaw out the ice damming in the attic and get it removed, and hoping to dry out any roof sheeting that had condensation on it.
 
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Old 12-30-09, 07:16 PM
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Ya, it is a catch 22. I go into town at night to play with the infrared camera and the old, old homes with slate on top for shingles just glow with the heat loss. But not a snow flake or icicle to be seen. And no insulation or venting anywhere and they have been standing for over 100 years. Now we invent insulation and recommend air sealing and done wrong, we will destroy those old homes in not so many years.

Here is another link, I'm still reading it myself, but it looks good. It also shows a picture of a fully foamed and sealed attic. I'm trying to improve my confidence in this approach, as adding venting is often near impossible. See what you think.
http://www.efficiencyvermont.com/ste...ide_062507.pdf

Bud
 
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Old 12-31-09, 05:04 PM
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well, I looked over this article briefly. It makes sense that one could foam everything in, and as long as the foam is non porus, it would act as a vapor barrier as well. But my concern is that isnt it quite spendy to go with the foam insulation?
 
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Old 01-01-10, 12:56 PM
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well, here you all go. I posted a few pics so we can all get a better understanding of the issue.

Image hosting, free photo sharing & video sharing at Photobucket
 
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Old 01-01-10, 03:19 PM
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From what I know about it, that insulation never should have been installed if there were no ridge or soffit vents. If the proper venting existed, then the fan fold (that styrofoam stuff) should have been behind the insulation to allow the air to flow behind it.

As I said in my first response, I opted not to install the vents. The most I would do in your case is install insulation between the attic floor & the second floor.
 
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Old 01-01-10, 07:11 PM
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ok, but should I lay down a vapor barrier on the attic floor first, then install the insulation? I would like everything vented, since it gets really hot up there in the summer. But would it be worth anything to install eave vents now, insulate, then install roof/gable vents in the spring?
 
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Old 01-03-10, 03:19 PM
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anybody have more advice on this?
 
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Old 01-03-10, 06:09 PM
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I don't think you need the vapor barrier on the floor. If you decide to install all the vents, don't forget the fan fold behind the insulation. That's the only way that the air is going to flow.

I would do all the work at the same time.
 
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Old 01-04-10, 07:37 AM
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So, at this point, since its -10 outside, just leave the insulation out of the attic until spring, when I decide to cut in some vents? Then put everything back together? I was thinking something similiar to this myself but wanted some confirmation.
 
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Old 01-04-10, 03:16 PM
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Correct, just wait for now. It doesn't pay to do it any other way.
 
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Old 01-05-10, 06:52 PM
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If you leave the insulation out till spring, for the rest of the winter the heat from the house will go right through the attic, heat the roof and cause massive ice dams. Doing more damage to the interior. Not to mention the mold on the sheathing.

Do what you can now starting with insulation and eave vents if you can. The eave vents will help by themselves.

For some more information
Roof and Attic Ventilation | Attic Ventilation | Roofing
 
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Old 01-05-10, 07:06 PM
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He said it was -10F there. Working in that cold would be suicidal. Besides that, I don't see how the heat leaving the house is going to kill his roof. I have an attic with no insulation & no vents. Other than low efficiency, no damage has occured.
 
 

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