WINTER IS NO FUN!!
We all know its not fun trying to get through the winter blues. With the weather this season, who wants to go outside?! So watching television for countless hours, eating bad foods and skipping our usual adventurous lifestyles is sometimes all we have in getting through our long, boring and never ending cabin fever days. And with only a handful of weeks before Spring, we can only hope that this constant frigid air, snow and ice will be gone for good!! Or at least several months!
Nothing is worse than when we sit down to "over relax" for the day only to notice water dripping from the ceiling, around the windows and into the floors!!! Yes, this is a personal experience that I've had this winter at my home!! But even more sadly, countless homeowners and customers have had the same experience this season. Let's face it, this winter season has been brutal, on us and our homes. Its never a good thing to have a roof leak, especially if you just hired a well qualified company to install an expensive new roof in the past few years! So before wondering if your roofing contractor didn't do their job efficiently, be sure to understand whats happening if you're having those new and never before seen leaks this winter.
WHY THE ICE BUILD UP??
We have received countless calls for leaks due to ice build up this season! So many that we can hardly keep up! The biggest question from homeowners is "why is my roof leaking this year when it never has before"? So needless to say, we have become pros at explaining whats happening. Heres why you are dealing with that ice and those leaks...
The actual biggest reason for the initial ice build up on the edge of your roof is heat loss through your attic. Even if you've had new insulation installed recently, there are many penetrations that your homes heat can penetrate through. Light fixtures and bathroom exhausts are just a couple of examples. This heat loss (warm air) will eventually make its way through the attic and onto the bottom of the roof deck, or plywood. And when you have standing snow on your roof, that snow begins to melt from the underside, creating water to run down the roof. As soon as this water makes its way to the overhang, or soffit of your roof structure, it refreezes as the overhang area is not heated - and therefore cannot keep the water above a freezing temperature. And now you have ice at the edge of your roof.
Now we certainly have had our fair share of snow this year! Further, we have had no days warm enough to melt the previously fallen snow. What this means is that with more than usual snow on the roof comes the more than usual ice build up!
SNOW IS INSULATION??
Believe it or not, snow is a great insulation barrier! In fact, snow can create an R Value of 1+ per inch of snow. This means if we have 19-21 inches of standing snow (which we've had this year), this is the same amount of R value that New York State requires in the walls of your home!! Incredible right?!?!
The reason this part of the science is important is the exact reason why the ice will not go away.... With so much snow, it actually creates an insulation barrier above your roof. And with this insulation barrier, the suns warmth (even on a freezing day) will not melt the never ending, accumulating snow. This creates a trap for the water, which then only freezes on top of the ice already there. And ultimately leaving only the ice to form even more and penetrate the shingles and siding protection of your home. Then the leaks start.
SO WHAT CAN I DO??
The best thing to do is try and avoid the problem before it starts. I have listed a few things below that will help you when trying to avoid this issue. But if you're past the point where you can prevent the leaks, CALL AN INSURED CONTRACTOR!! Roofs are dangerous, especially when icy!! We have experienced that most, if not all homeowners insurance companies are covering damages caused by this, so don't be afraid to call them and start your claim process.
Five Steps To Eliminating Ice Build Up:
1- Install heat cables (there is some controversy on these, but thats another blog. They will help keep ice away).
2- Purchase a snow rake to help with safely removing the snow from your roof.
3- Consider hiring an insured contractor to tighten up your attic and its insulation.
4- Remove all insulation and have a closed cell spray foam application installed. Give us a call for a free quote!!
5- Move to Florida (you know you want to)!
The good news is that there is help if you are struggling with leaks. Insurance companies are recognizing the issues and do cover such claims. And there are many contractors that will help you with the removal of the ice and snow. Just be sure that they are insured!!!