Keep the spring thaw outside where it belongs
After winter’s long deep freeze, most of us look forward to warmer spring weather and longer hours of sunshine. But not all aspects of spring are as pleasant. Melting snow can spell trouble, leading to leaky roofs and ice build-up.
“The spring thaw can be destructive to personal property,” says Ryan Michel, senior vice president and chief risk officer at Allstate Canada.“We recommend that homeowners take extra care this season to prevent damaging ice formations and leaks. Melting snow can create ice dams that can tear off gutters, lift shingles, and lead leaks directly into your home.”
Ice dams can form on your eavestroughs or on the lower edge of a home’s roof, Michel points out. When the temperature in your attic is above freezing, it melts the snow on your shingles. The water trickles down to a cooler part of the roof where it freezes, usually on the eavestroughs and the roof overhang. Eventually, a build-up of ice forms – an ice dam – and begins to leak beneath the shingles and then into your home. One of the biggest warning signs of ice damming is the formation of large icicles that hang from the roof.
If left unchecked, leaks caused by ice dams can harm your roof and shingles, damage insulation and interior walls and can even compromise your home’s structural integrity.
Here are a few tips to prevent ice dams from forming and damaging your home:
1. Clear leaves and other debris from eavestroughs and downspouts.
2. Properly insulate areas in your attic that lose heat. This includes wrapping and insulating heating ducts.
3. Make sure your attic is properly ventilated under the roof deck.
4. If safe, clear new snowfall from gutters using a snow rake or broom. Never attempt to go onto the roof as slippery conditions can be dangerous. Always hire a professional to inspect and repair your roof.