Ice damming is the result of a continuous cycle where snow on your roof is melted by the sun or heat from inside your home escaping, possibly due to inadequate attic insulation and/or roof ventilation. The ice dam occurs when water runs down to the roof edge where it refreezes, then continues to build up higher until it eventually backs up under your roof shingles. Ice dams can be very dangerous and costly. Plus, some damage may not be easily seen, sometimes for years.
When the outside temperature warms up, the ice buildup will begin to melt. Since the ice buildup has worked its way up under the shingles, the water from the ice melting can work its way into your home, damaging the attic walls, floors, furniture, and eventually your basement. If the ice dam breaks free, it can pull shingles and gutters off with it, and it will damage anything it falls on: shrubs, cars, and people.
Proper roof ventilation and adequate attic insulation are vital to maintaining your home and reducing ice damming. Homeowners can also reduce ice dams by raking the roof with a snow rake to expose the shingles at the eaves. A good rule of thumb is to clear off your roof after every 4-6 inches of snowfall. Snow raking will also lessen the weight on your roof, which will ease stress on the structure and reduce any leaks or weak points.
If the condition of your roof or adequate insulation are a concern, a quick call to Callen Construction at 414-765-2585 will get you a FREE estimate, as well as the knowledge and advice of seasoned professionals.
Winter weather will be coming to Wisconsin before too long, so now is the time for area homeowners to prepare their homes for what can be a harsh time of year. Homes can be winterized with these tips from Callen professionals.
- Homeowners should make sure they have the necessary tools for the season in good working order: shovels, ice melting salt, and a roof rake for removing snow from the roof to help reduce ice damming issues.
- Checking windows and doors for air leaks should start with a visual inspection of the exterior. Where the old caulking has failed, there will be a gap between the window or doorframe and the home’s siding. If your home has single-paned windows, look for damaged glazing, which is the hard putty that holds the individual panes of glass in place.
- Clean gutters of any debris, which could add to ice damming issues. Consider seamless aluminum gutters and larger aluminum downspouts to reduce the amount of ice build-up and the possibility of leaks and damage.
- Water is the enemy to your exterior chimney. Water getting into the masonry, freezing, and then causing failure gets costly to fix. Make sure the concrete cap or crown on the chimney has an overhang and is not cracked.
- Make sure the flue that vents your furnace and water heater has the proper size liner in it, and that it is in good condition.
- When the ground freezes, animals that normally seek shelter and food underground may instead cause damage to trees and shrubs. Flowering crab trees and burning bushes are especially susceptible. Protect plants with either wire or netting across or around the plant.
- Check your furnace filter and replace it needed. Now is also a good time to have the furnace inspected and tuned up.
- Regarding the air conditioner, turn off the breaker for the A/C and clean it thoroughly and properly.
- It is necessary to make sure the fireplace chimney is clean from soot before using it this season to prevent a chimney fire. Also, be sure you close your fireplace damper when not in use. Otherwise the heat you are paying for while running your furnace is going up the chimney.