Posts Tagged ‘ice on roof’

What’s wrong with this picture? Efficiency before renewables usually makes the most sense.

January 29, 2011

Thanks to GreenHomes America’s Home Performance Training Manager, Jason Todd for passing along this photo which begs a few questions.  When we’re looking at home energy, we like to focus on energy efficiency before we starting adding on renewable energy sources like solar and wind.   As Brett Knox likes to repeat “Reduce before You Produce”.  This picture suggests that someone may have taken another path.

We’ve certainly talked a lot about icicles and ice damming here.  And the summary version is they are not good and indicate you’re wasting energy and money.  The snow melt patterns on the roof and the icicles suggest that this house is losing a lot of heat through it’s attic and roof.

The cost to correct this (with good air-sealing and insulation details) on most homes is generally less than the cost of a solar hot water system as pictured here (partially buried under snow in the center of the photo).  And the energy savings,  carbon reductions, and other benefits, are typically greater with the efficiency measures than with this system.  Further, correcting the heat loss problem helps prevent the possible roof and structural damage that can result from ice build up.  This is a case where the economic, environmental, and comfort advantage of efficiency make a lot more sense than starting with solar.

Don’t get me wrong.  I’m a fan of solar, and we install it.  Solar hot water makes sense for a lot of people, and it is a great entree into renewables.  Most of the time, though, renewable energy makes the most sense AFTER you’ve taken the low hanging fruit offered by energy-efficiency.  Efficiency First!

[BTW, regarding solar hot water systems, in many cases I prefer the flat-plate collectors show in this video, over the evacuated tube collectors pictured above.  Flat-plate collectors  tend to be less expensive, more durable, and we’ve seen fewer issues up north with snow building up and inhibiting the collector.  Conversely, a lot of people report that snow collects around the nooks and crannies of the evacuated tubes and doesn’t shed off easily.]

Thanks,
Mike

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Ah, Syracuse, snow brings problems with roof ice.

January 15, 2011

Driving down Court Street and the surrounding area in Syracuse yesterday, I saw literally hundreds of homes with tell-tale snow melt patterns on roofs and some monster icicles, some as long as 20 feet.  I didn’t have time to stop and take pictures–you you can search this site for examples of what this looks like and why it isn’t a good thing.  But it’s clear we’ve got to reach thousands more homes in Syracuse.  How can we spread the word?

Thanks,
Mike

More DC-area ice dams

February 12, 2010

Here’s one from Patricia Plympton taken before the mid-week storm that added more snow.  Notice the heavy buildup of ice.  The new snow and water melting behind it spell potential trouble in the coming days.

An example of roof ice on the DC area

February 9, 2010

Dale Hoffmeyer forwards this example of ice forming on roofs in suburban Virginia.  Ouch.

DC and the Mid-Atlantic Snow Leads to Roof Ice Problems

February 8, 2010

I just wrote about this in the Northeast several weeks ago.  And now, this weekend’s Mid-Atlantic snowpocalypse hammered the region around DC for hundreds of miles with two to three feet of snow.   Northern Virginia, DC, Baltimore, and further up the Atlantic seaboard are covered in a blanket of snow.   Snow on rooftops often leads to problems with icicles and ice damming, as we’ve discussed here before, but primarily for homes with air leakage into the attic and poor insulation. (Some will tout inadequate ventilation as the cause—but roof ventilation is often insufficient, it can make energy leakage worse, and it’s possible to solve this issue with no roof ventilation!).  The snow, while creating havoc, also provides an opportunity for homeowners to look for problems as shown with this series of photos from Vermont. 

Everyone in the region, good luck shoveling out.  Be safe.  And if you’re having ice issues now, think about upgrading insulation and air-sealing after you dig out and things get back to normal.  You’ll be more comfortable and save energy in the long run.  And remember, federal tax credits (and many local programs) can help you pay for the needed upgrades.

Thanks,
Mike


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