If you live in an area of the country that becomes cold and snowy during the winter, you must take measures to protect your home from the effects of the harsh weather. Ice dams are among the threats to the structural integrity of your roof during the winter. While a snow-covered roof with hanging icicles can make your property look like a winter wonderland, the formation of ice on your home spells trouble. There are ways to prevent the ice damage to your roof and melt icicles safely.
Instead of waiting for the onset of winter to deal with ice dams and icicles, take preventative action during the late summer and fall.
Ice dams occur when the heat in your attic warms the upper part of your house—except for the eaves. As snow begins to melt, it runs down the roof and freezes when it reaches the cool eaves. This causes ice dams that can damage shingles. Dams also cause water to infiltrate your home and possibly damage your walls and ceilings.
Making sure that your attic has proper ventilation can help to prevent these issues. Roofing contractors can install vents on your roof so warm air can circulate properly and not become trapped. You can choose a variety of vent styles to match the architecture of your home and blend in to your home's design.
You can also purchase vents that double as solar panels and ventilate your attic with fans. Solar vents will also help you save money on your energy bills.
If you choose to install vents on your own you will need to measure your roof properly, purchase the correct number of vents and avoid punching holes in the wrong places in the roof so you do not damage ductwork and other structures.
Removing Ice and Snow
You can remove the ice and snow from eaves and gutters without damaging the structures. Use a roof rake to remove snow right after snowfall.
When ice develops, DIY solutions include creating salt tubes using a pair of old pantyhose. After you cut off the top of the hosiery, fill the legs with salt made from melting ice. Tie a knot on the open end of each pantyhose leg. Place the salt tubes across gutters with frozen ice.
You can also spread salt in gutters and at your roof line. If you feel it is too dangerous to place a ladder on snow-covered or icy ground to complete these tasks, hire a contractor to de-ice your gutters and eaves.
To avoid damaging your roof and injuring yourself, do not chip at the ice with sharp objects like chisels and hammers. In addition, never walk on a roof with snow or ice.
When spring arrives and the snow and ice are gone, you will have the chance to inspect your roof for damage. If your attic is properly ventilated and you do not let ice accumulate, you will not have to spend an exorbitant about of money to repair your roof.
It is much less expensive to repair a few shingles than deal with leaks and other serious problems from water seepage including mold, warped lumber, sagging ceilings and water stains.
If you do not feel that improved attic ventilation helped to prevent ice dams, you should consider installing a heated roof system. While this is a more expensive solution to ice dams and requires a professional installation, in the long run you will not have to contend with a severely damaged roof after a long, harsh winter.
While you will not see the picturesque icicles hanging from your roof anymore, the tradeoff is peace of mind that your roof is protected no matter how much snow falls during the winter. Check out sites like http://www.palmerroofing.net for more information.