Act Now to Prevent Ice & Snow and Ice Dams!
Weight of Snow & Ice
In many areas of our state, heavy snows have built up on houses, pole barns, commercial buildings and a variety of other structures over the past few days from enhanced lake effect as well as system storms. Over time these, layers create weight in the valleys and low areas of the roof systems.
While a warm up is predicted for this weekend is generally welcome news, it also comes with a weather report forecasting rain which the snow absorbs like a sponge. We know from past experience that this will lead to excessive weight from snow and ice, inevitably leading to structural stress and damage to roofs, walls and even building collapse. This is particularly true for flat roof structures; therefore, remember to monitor snow build up on roofs and take necessary steps to reduce it before the rains come.
This same snow buildup and rain/melt cycle can lead to ice dams. These ice dams occur from layers of snow fall being warmed underneath creating water that channels down to the roofs edge and into gutters freezing over and over. This ice damming can also break off causing building damage and even fall on unsuspecting people passing by or near building entrance areas. Early action can also prevent water and ice working underneath the shingles and entering attic which causes damage to ceilings, walls, insulation and contents. If left undetected, this moisture can also cause mold and mildew which is often excluded from the policy.
To help prevent dams from forming:
- Keep gutters and down spouts clear of debris, snow and ice, so melting roof snow can flow.
- Keep snow on your roof to a minimum. Roof rakes let you stand on the ground to safely pull the snow off the roof.
- Even if you can only clear the 2 or 3 feet near the lowest part of your roof, this will help prevent ice dams from forming.
- Evaluate attic insulation and ventilation. Good airflow is essential to a cool, dry attic.
- Try adding a granular ice melting product to these areas to assist in the removal of the ice dam.