Fix Ice Dams and Frozen Pipes with Weatherization
Weatherization is helping Mainers battle high heating costs by making their homes and businesses less drafty, better insulated, and more energy efficient. Common weatherization projects include insulating walls, attics, and basements, and investing in air sealing, which reduces the amount of air that leaks in and out of a building. Over the next few weeks, Efficiency Maine will post some blogs that will dispel a variety of weatherization “myths” in an effort to inform Mainers about the potential benefits of making our buildings more energy-efficient. Today’s topic: fix your ice dams and frozen pipes with weatherization.
In Maine’s chilly winter climate, frozen pipes and ice dams are common – and can be expensive, stressful, and frustrating. Many Mainers first think of a plumber or a roofer as the solution to frozen pipes or ice dams. And, while plumbers and roofers can certainly repair any damage from frozen pipes and ice dams, such as broken pipes or gutters, Efficiency Maine recommends addressing the source of the problem before a repair is necessary.
Ice dams and frozen pipes are symptoms of a home in need of weatherization. Ice dams form when attics are unintentionally heated by air leaks and/or insufficient insulation. This causes snow on the roof to melt, which runs down to the colder roof overhang and freezes, creating ice dams. As that process continues and the dam enlarges, it can force water back up under shingles where it leaks down into the attic and wall cavities, causing water damage to a home or business. You can reduce the risk of ice dams by sealing attic air leaks and adding insulation.
Frozen pipes, on the other hand, occur when pipes get so cold that the water inside them begins to freeze. This occurs most frequently when pipes are in an area of the building that’s not well insulated or are outside the building. As the water inside the pipes freezes, it expands and puts pressure on the pipes, making them likely to burst. Adding insulation to attics, basements, and crawl spaces will help maintain higher temperatures in those areas and can reduce the risk of pipes freezing.
You could say that weatherization falls under the old adage “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” So, whether it’s for ice dams, frozen pipes, or for more general comfort and financial savings, take some time to consider how improved insulation and weatherization – and a little advanced planning – might help you reduce your energy costs. Click here to find a contractor near you and take the first step towards insulating your home!
Efficiency Maine offers rebates and loans for weatherization projects. Rebates are available for insulation projects (up to $5,000 rebate), as well as air sealing with an energy assessment ($500 rebate). Click here to find a contractor near you. Check https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JSTGkJupXdQ for a video on how to weatherize your home.