It’s true, spring is almost here and we’re all looking forward to the snow melting; but is the snow melting from your roof and landing in your living room? Here is a brief description on what is called an “ice dam” and what can be done about it to keep it from happening the next time the snow melts on your roof.
When snow accumulates on the roof and icicles form from your roofs edge, that’s a sign that the part of the snow that actually touches your roof is melting. The stuff above it stays cold and doesn’t melt as fast, so you can’t see this happening except that you can see icicles.
Ice dams are like icebergs on your roof. If there is any heat leaking from your roof from inside of your warm and comfy home, that part of your roof will get warm and melt the snow that’s touching it. As water from melting snow drains down the roof, underneath its snowy cover, it eventually hits the bottom edge near the gutters, where it once again hits cold air. As it re-freezes, the ice that is formed grows and pushes its way back up the roof and often times under the roof shingles, where it hits the warmed surface once again, melts, and shows itself (if you’re lucky) as a leak in one of the rooms of your home. I say lucky because if you see water leaking from your ceiling near an exterior wall, you’ll do something about it; if you don’t see a leak, there may be water running down inside the wall where, if left to its own design, can cause mold, decay and set the stage for termites and carpenter ants in the spring.
The culprit is not necessarily the roof shingles, though. There are barriers that can keep ice dams from penetrating, but poor insulation and/ or poor ventilation is often the cause.
If you think this might be an issue at your home, having a qualified, licensed building or roofing contractor evaluate your situation is highly recommended.
“if you don’t see a leak, there may be water running down inside the wall”
Ask your contractor the following questions:
- Are the shingles on my roof still in good condition?
- Are my gutters and leaders working properly?
- Is there an Ice and Water barrier installed on my roof?
- Are there any areas where heated air is escaping into my attic space?
- Do I have sufficient ventilation to keep my rooms warm and my roof cold?
- Is there sufficient insulation in my attic?
- Is that air circulating freely through the attic or has it been blocked by insulation?
So, if this happened to you or someone you know this winter, the answers to the above questions will give offer a road map on how to proceed in fixing the problem once and for all.
Feel free to contact me with any questions regarding the way your home works, and I’ll be happy to answer your questions.
I’m also a great resource for referring top quality, honest contractors to serve your home repair needs.
If you or anybody you know is looking to buy or sell a home here in Suffolk or Nassau county, book your inspection with Pace Home Inspections, and we’ll help you to secure your comfort, your safety and your peace of mind.