In February 2015, there was an epidemic of collapsing roofs in Massachusetts and more than 160 roofs collapsed in a short time frame. Even though this was not the first time incredible snowfall and ice led to problems with roof collapses for homeowners, it serves as a reminder to be prepared for the upcoming cold weather as a homeowner. Part of preparing for the potential snow and ice of the winter season is understanding how an ice dam could affect your roof and what you need to do in order to prevent problems. Here are a few simple things you need to do in order to get your roof winter-ready to avoid issues with ice dams.
Insulate the Attic
One of the biggest culprits for causing an ice dam is the transferring heat that is coming right from the inside of your home to the exterior surface of your roof. In most cases, this is due to lack of insulation in the attic, which allows the warm air to press against the interior underside of the roof, raising the temperature of the roof's surface outside. Before the cold weather sets in, take a trip up to the attic and check out the insulation.
If the flooring of the attic is well insulated, it will typically suffice to keep heat from filling the space and transferring to the roof. However, if the attic is a space that is heated along with the rest of the home and the floor is not insulated, you must make sure that there is an adequate amount of insulation overhead.
Checkout Exhaust Fixtures
Depending on the way your home is designed, you could have a handful of exhaust fixtures on your roof that radiate heat. An exhaust pipe from your HVAC system, the hood on your kitchen stove, and even your dryer are perfect examples of exhaust pipelines that radiate a fair amount of heat. This heat can melt surrounding snow on the roof, leading to ice build up and damming.
The easiest way to eliminate heat radiation from these pipes is to make sure they extend far enough above the roof that the heat will be carried away without touching the snow. However, you could also exchange basic PVC or metal lines for insulated pipes for exhaust outlets, which will be even more effective at preventing issues.
The idea of a roof collapse in cold weather is definitely not something that you want to deal with as a homeowner. Talk to a roofing contractor before winter to get more ideas about how to avoid ice damming on your roof that could lead to a collapse.