I'm not talking about the roads. I'm talking about the roofs! Those beautiful icicles twinkling in the sun are sign of horrors to come. We affectionately call this ice damming. And as I have yet to see any beavers mulling about - its important to understand why ice dams happen and what we can do about it.
It all starts with the attic. You know that scary place where no-one visits! Stick your head up there if you dare - you may be suprised by what you find. No beavers - Good! However, remember your attic is a cold zone: it should be the same temperature as it is outside. Let me repeat, your attic is a cold zone and it should be the same temperature as it is outside. If its not cold - that is bad.
Why you ask? I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but all that warm air you're paying to heat, is escaping into the attic and melting the snow on the roof. And that's where our friend ventilation comes in. Ventilations job is to remove warm air from your attic, using soffit, gable, "mushroom", ridge, or "Whirlybirds", of which im not a fan of - more in a later blog. Assuming that you have the right amount of ventilation - and that's a big assumption - there is a good chance that the snow on the roof is blocking the ventilation, preventing it from working properly - dam!
At this point the math is pretty simple; warm from above + warm from below = melting snow! As water drains down the roof, once it gets to the cold area along the edge of the roof, it freezes. Voila - ice dam! Over time, the ice backs up under your shingles and water leaks into your home. At this point, beavers may be a welcome addition!
What can you do? The good news - Lots! Ensure your attic is properly insulated and ventilated. Prevent heat from inside your home, leaking into the attic, by sealing it up. Keep the amount of snow on the roof to a minimum. In the Fall, keep gutters and downspouts free and clear allowing them to operate properly. Do these things and the only ice you'll see next year will be on the rink!