Last winter, did you have piles of ice appear at the edge of your roof? Known as ice dams, these accumulations of ice can cause a range of roofing issues, from bent gutters to loosened shingles. Many homeowners with ice dams end up with leaks and ceiling damage throughout the winter months. Luckily, there is still time to take action and keep ice dams from forming on your roof this coming winter. If you had them last year, then you definitely need to follow these tips.
Add more insulation to your attic.
A lack of insulation is almost always the root cause of ice dams. Warm air escapes through your attic, warming the roof and causing snow near the peak to melt. The water trickles down to the cooler edge of your roof, where it re-freezes.
If your attic insulation is beginning to look discolored, is developing mold, or appears compacted, consider taking it out and replacing it completely. On the other hand, if it is rather new and in good shape, you can just add an extra layer. Use an online calculator to figure out just how much insulation you should have, and then purchase batts of fiberglass insulation based on the results of the calculation.
Clear your gutters.
Ice dams can be made a lot worse if your gutters are not clear. Instead of water trickling down as it melts during a warm spell, it may accumulate in the gutters, re-freezing again when the temperature cools off again. Climb up on a ladder (before the snow makes this dangerous to do), and use your hands to scoop any debris out of the gutters. Then, use a garden hose with a high-pressure nozzle to spray out any little remnants. Consider having gutter guards installed so you have less cleaning to do in subsequent years.
Invest in a snow rake.
Even if you do increase your insulation, it's wise to take an extra step to prevent ice dams: raking the snow off the roof. You can purchase a snow rake, which is essentially a garden rake with a really long handle, at a home improvement store. Have it on hand so that when there's a heavy snow fall, you can rake the snow down. Be especially sure to do this when temperatures are expected to rise and then fall again, and you'll find yourself with a lot fewer ice dams to worry about. For more information about preventing ice dams, contact a roofer such as Russ Lundin Roofing.