During the winter season, homeowners should pay special attention to their roofs and problems caused by wintry weather. Snow, sleet, ice and rain will all test the fortitude of a roof’s construction, materials and their installation. A roof can experience ice dams, icicles, avalanches and even collapse under the impacts of the season, so it is in the best interest of the homeowner to pay special attention.
The colder winter months will primarily test the insulation and ventilation of a home. Proper insulation and ventilation of an attic will keep heat inside of a home, and may help homeowners save money on heating costs. The right combination of insulation and ventilation will also prevent ice dams from forming on the roof.
An ice dam is a layer of ice that forms at the edge of a roof when heat from an attic can cause snow on the roof to melt. The melted snow can then reach the cold overhang at the eave and re-freeze, causing an ice dam. Large, prevalent icicles can be one indicator that an ice dam has formed. The key concern with ice dams is that water from melting snow can back up behind the dam and find its way under shingles, then leak into your home.
Ice damming is a significant winter issue in Southern Alberta. Watch if your roof has a build up of ice on the eaves, or if there are dry parts to your roof that is otherwise covered in snow. If the heat from the house is escaping into the attic, therefore heating the underside of the roof, that section of the roof will not have snow or may even be dry.
Another issue rearing its ugly head this time of year is a build up of condensation in the attic. This happens when warm moist air escapes through the insulation and hits the cold air of the attic. This causes ice to build up in the attic because the warm air from inside the home is moist. When the temperature outside starts to warm up ( especially if there is a drastic change in temperature ), the ice starts to melt potentially causing water damage on the drywalled ceiling, around light fixtures or the bathroom exhaust fan. Upon first observation, this looks like the roof is leaking, but almost always this is a condensation problem caused by improper ventilation.
There can be up to 12 litres of water in the air of a home per day escaping into your attic. It’s hard to believe, but it is true. Contributing to this in your home are: cooking, showering, washing/drying clothes etc.
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- Was the roof leaking during rain in the summer?
- Is this happening in the winter/spring?
- Did a significant temperature change from cold to warm happen?
- Are the water stains or leaking in the ceiling around light fixtures or the bathroom ceiling fan?
- Did you recently have the roof replaced?
If you are experiencing ice damning or condensation, give South Peak a call to help diagnose the problem.