Friday, January 21, 2011

Ice dams

With all of the snowfall in Kansas City so far this season, pay close attention to the gutters on your house.

Icicles may look pretty and seasonally appropriate, but they're also a sign that heat is escaping through your roof and causing the snow cover to melt. As the melting snow refreezes, it can block the gutters and keep water from draining away as it should. This can lead to the water seeping into your walls or dripping onto your house's foundation instead. And that can lead to many different problems.

Consider using a broom to brush away the snow from lowest few feet of your roof. You may feel silly being out in the cold "sweeping" your roof, but giving the snow melt room to drain unobstructed can help you avoid costly problems with mold, a cracked foundation, and damaged soffits, fascia boards and walls.

To prevent ice dams from occurring, you may need to improve the insulation and ventilation of your roof and/or install a heat strip along the lower edge of the roof or in the gutter. For now, sweeping the snow away will help the situation. And then, when it warms up a little, you can consider your other options.