We’re well into winter, and that means your roof is being pounded with snow and ice. That can cause serious damage – your roof won’t collapse overnight, but you might find yourself in need of expensive repairs come spring. Luckily, there are a number of ways to prevent the worst.
The simplest solution is to simply brush excess snow off of your roof, but be careful if you decide on this approach. Don’t start climbing around on a roof in the middle of winter, because that’s an accident waiting to happen. Instead, use a rake or something else that isn’t going to damage your roof to brush off the worst of the buildup. Don’t use big, unwieldy snow shovels or start hacking at ice with chisels and picks, because you might end up damaging your roof and quite possibly yourself, too. Stick with something simple and light – you’re not going to get rid of every last snowflake, but eliminating the worst of the buildup can relieve pressure and help prevent ice dams.
Speaking of which, consider investing in heated gutter guards to prevent ice dams. While having all of those icicles hanging from your roof can sure look pretty, they also block up your gutters, making them useless until warm weather comes – not to mention that all that weight can warp your gutters or even rip them from the house if the ice build-up is bad enough, making them useless for even longer. Heated gutter guards, like Moonworks’ Heated Helmet, will warm the edge of your roof enough to ensure that water stays water, keeping your gutters flowing throughout the long winter months and preventing any build-up or damage.
If you have an attic, you’ll also want to make sure that no warm air is leaking through it up to the ceiling. That’s what causes the worst of ice dams and other winter roof problems – the warm air melts the snow and lets it trickle down into the cold gutter, where it freezes into damaging ice. Once your attic is stopped up it never hurts to add some extra insulation as well. But make sure that insulation isn’t blocking ventilation, or you’ll defeat the purpose of the fix. Basically, you need to make sure that your roof stays consistently cold.
This next tip isn’t going to do you much good in the middle of winter, but it’s something to keep in mind for next year: clean out your gutters before the first big snowfalls come. Having gutters full of leaves, sticks, errant Frisbees and other junk prevents flow and act as, well, a dam that allows ice to build up.
Now that you’ve got a few possible “dos,” here’s one more definite “don’t” – unless you live on a salt mine, salting your ice dams isn’t going to do much good. Salt is great for melting and adding traction for the ice on your sidewalk, but it’s not going to put an appreciable dent in a big ice dam. And if you do pour a McDonald’s entire salt supply onto your ice, it will run down into your lawn and garden when the weather warms, killing off everything green.
Whether you look into your attic, carefully chip away at snow buildup or invest in our Heated Helmet gutter warmers, make sure you take good care of your roof over the winter. It – and your checkbook – will both thank you come spring.