Fall Roofing Maintenance To Prevent Ice Dams

An ice dam is a problem that occurs when ice forms on the lower portion of your home's roof, near the eaves and gutters. Ice dams are typically caused by "hot spots" in the attic, which cause snow on the upper portions of the roof to melt. This newly melted snow rolls down to colder portions of the roof where it turns back into ice. As the ice builds up, it can begin to back up underneath the shingles. Eventually, ice will penetrate the roof's sheathing. Ice dams can be destructive, causing hundreds or even thousands of dollars in damage to your home's roof and walls. Fortunately, ice dams are preventable. There are many things you can do this fall that will help prevent an ice dam from forming this winter.

Unclog Your Gutters

Clogged gutters can cause a backup of melting ice as it drains from your roof. If your gutters are severely clogged, this can contribute to your home's ice dam. Gutters typically become clogged in the fall, when leaves fall from the trees around your home. Make time to unclog your home's gutters before the fall ends and winter begins.

To clean your home's gutters, stand on a ladder over your gutters and use a hand trowel to scoop the leaves and debris from the gutters into a bucket. Once the leaves are cleared from the gutters, wash out the gutters with water from a hose. If the water backs up and will not go down the downspouts, use a plumber's auger to clear the pipes.

Beef Up Your Insulation

Insulation in your attic can help prevent hot spots from forming. Inspect your home's insulation to ensure that it is adequate. The ENERGY STAR program says that your insulation should cover the floor joists. If your insulation is level with the joists or below the joists, add more insulation.

Ensure Adequate Air Circulation In Your Attic

Air circulation in your attic will prevent hot spots from forming near the peaks in the roof. While you're in the attic checking the insulation, check the air vents to ensure that they are opened and are not blocked by bird nests or obstructions. If some of the vents are closed, open them and clear the slats of debris.

For more advice, talk to a roofing contractor like American Building & Roofing, Inc. in your area. He or she can help you determine whether or not your home is at risk for a roof dam this winter, and can provide suggestions that can help you fix the problem.