Charleston Roofing: Article About Ice Dams
When the snow begins to fall, you may want nothing more than to sit back, relax and watch as your world turns white. However, what you may not be aware of is that the snow can actually cause you and your roof a lot of problems. If enough snow builds up on your roof and has nowhere to go as it melts, the weight could cause your roof to being to sag or even collapse if the conditions become bad enough. The main perpetrators behind this problem are ice dams that may form on your Charleston roofing system.
Ice dams form on your roof when heat escapes your attic space. The heat causes the snow touching your shingles or other roofing materials to melt and run down to the edge of the roof. Once the water gets past the walls of your home, it freezes. If enough water freezes here, any additional snow that melts has nowhere to go but through the roof and into the living space.
Heat travels from the attic into the environment through attic bypasses. These bypasses could be caused by a failure in the sealants around the fireplace or exterior joints.
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Complex roof designs and systems are also likely to result in an increased amount of snow accumulation as the snowfall does not slide off the roof as easily and air leaks from the living space into the attic is more likely.
If the ice dam accumulates enough ice and snow, you may be able to see the wall of ice from the ground when you insect your roof. However, the presence of icicles hanging over the edge of the roof may also indicate that you have ice dams. Small icicles generally are not a problem, but if they begin to have a large diameter, they can be an indication that a large amount of heat is being lost through the attic. These icicles can grow to be so large that they actually end up touching the ground.
Simply knocking down the icicles will not fix the main problem. However, there are a number of actions that you can take to protect yourself and your home against the potential formation of any ice dams. During the winter, using an ice rake to remove any snow before it can accumulate is one way to keep freezing water away from your drains and downspouts.
However, the main problem is the loss of heat from your attic. One way that you can decrease the amount of heat loss is by adding an effective amount of insulation to the attic floor. If your attic has a drop down staircase, you can add weatherstripping around the joints.