Last January at this time we were all saying the same thing: “Wow! This winter hasn’t been that bad at all. I can’t believe how lucky we’ve gotten.” For those of you still dealing with the post-traumatic stress last winter incurred, you’ll remember that it was merely two weeks later that Mother Nature unleashed a month of continuous hellacious snowfall down upon us. Along with the snow, sleet, and freezing temperatures we were all introduced to the world of ice dams. With the cumulative damage from this weather, ice dams have without question been the center of most of our incoming phone calls over the past few months; therefore, we thought this would be the perfect time to offer some helpful hints as to how to get a jump on preparing your home before we get blasted with another White February.
Ice dams, themselves, do not create a problem until your attic becomes warmer than it should. Issues occur when your roof melts the snow that has accrued behind these ice dams. Once the water flows down toward the edge of the roof the ice dam blocks it, causing the water to back up and creep underneath the shingles—hence the leaking into your home. The ice dam solution lies within making sure you have a cold roof. The most effective methods to keep your roof cold are making sure your roof is properly ventilated and that you have the proper amount of insulation.
Ridge and soffit vents help circulate cool air throughout your attic. With proper air flow from the outside, your attic should not become warm enough to melt thesnow quicker than the ice dams. There are, however, a couple of things you can do combat the ice dam problem. One thing we’ve found that helps is placing a fan in your attic. The fan will not only cool down your attic, but it will also jump start the air circulation from your current ventilation. Another great way to rid your roof of ice dams is to invest in a snow rake. Available at your neighborhood hardware store, snow rakes allow you to remove the snow off your roof from street level before it has a chance to freeze. Just please remember, you do not want to use a ladder or get on your roof to remove snow. Snow removal from your roof is no time to be a hero, so stay off of it! Snow rakes were developed with elongated handles to eliminate the need for actually walking your roof.