Ice and Inefficiency

August 23, 2015

Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow yesterday so we’ll have six more weeks of winter.  There’s a big surprise.  As the WNY winter drags on I thought it was time for another post on ice and how it’s usually a bad thing to have on your home.  It has been a few years.  I always tell people to look at the ice on their home as money hanging off their gutters.  That’s because they’re almost always formed by heat (that you pay for) escaping from a home and melting the snow on the roof.  The melt water then refreezes in the form of icicles once it gets clear of your warm roof. 

All heated buildings have heat loss so there’s no stopping it.  The best you can hope for is to slow it down considerably.  If you can do that you’ll save money on your energy bill, and you’ll usually be more comfortable.  If you have ice you should have someone (like Energsmart!) come out and take a look at your situation to see if you have room for improvement. 

Sometimes we can’t help.  For example, if you have a cathedral ceiling that can’t be insulated without ripping it down.  We could technically do that type of project, but the amount of money spent on the project versus what you would save may not be worth it.  Keep in mind though that many times these sloped ceilings can be accessed from an attic or other dead space.  We insulate cape style homes and other sloped ceiling areas quite often.

Finally, just because you don’t have ice doesn’t mean you have good insulation.  If your insulation is bad, but you have an overabundance of ventilation in your attic, you won’t see ice!  The heat will be flushed out of the attic into the atmosphere before it can warm up the roof deck and melt snow.  This is the case with most new homes today that use fiberglass for insulation.  Fiberglass in an attic typically results in high heat loss, but since these new homes have so much ventilation, you never see money hanging from the gutters (icicles).  The loss is invisible because it’s flushed out the ridge and gable vents.  This is why I often say fiberglass insulation can create the illusion of efficiency.

Spray foam that Energsmart installs will slow energy loss to a trickle.  Not surprisingly, this is why all of the freezers, refrigerators and coolers you own use it.  Spray foam’s initial cost is relatively expensive, but it’s efficiency and comfort are unmatched without question.  In the event foam isn’t a fit for you and your budget, then cellulose (shredded newspapers) is the next best insulation.  We’re closing in on 4,000 completed projects so chances are we’ve seen your issue in the past and know how to fix it.  Please give us a call or contact us online today for a free assessment. Stay warm this winter!