Your home: Ice dams be damned!

Ice_DamesPlease read this column if you still have snow on your roof. It could save you a lot of money.

I really do love winter. I moved to Kansas from Arkansas in 1998 and immediately fell in love with the fact that we have four distinct seasons. It is really spectacular. And now that I have two boys, Ben (6) and Harry (3), I love the snow even more. Just last week we were over at Westwood Park at 47th and State Line Road sledding like we thought we were at the Winter Olympics. What a great day that was!

However, as a Realtor the snow has a dark side. I don’t mean to sound so ominous, but it really does. Snow can appear to be so picturesque, especially when it is coupled with a trimming of icicles.

Homeowners beware! This is where the trouble starts. I am talking about ice dams. We have seen them in years past and as the snow continues to melt and re-freeze on our roofs, the potential is there. And although icicles are beautiful, they are the tell tale sign of an ice dam.

Ice dams are formed when heat escapes from your home and into your attic. As the attic warms, the snow on your roof begins to melt. The water from the melted snow then travels down your roof to the eaves. The eaves are typically a cold spot; therefore, the water refreezes causing an ice dam. The melted snow behind the ice dam then accumulates and begins to find its way under your roof shingles causing potential rotting of the decking and eventually leaks into your attic. Most homeowners don’t know of an ice dam until the water has caused staining on the ceiling of a room inside the home and at that point you may have a big problem.

So what is the quick fix? Let’s start with what NOT to do. Don’t go outside and whack away at all of the icicles. Although this could be a great way to relieve stress, it could also cause damage to your gutters and your roof. Additionally, if you have never been dive bombed by a falling icicle (unfortunately I have) you don’t want this year to be your first.

The best solution for an ice dam is to purchase a snow rake. It is specifically designed for removing the excess snow from your roof while you remain safely on the ground. Also, if you do have a slight leak under your roof, one tip I read was to place a box fan under the leak with hopes to circulate colder air from the eaves and refreeze the leak. Of course, this solution is just temporary.

If you do develop a problem with an ice dam and need to contact a professional, our clients have been thrilled with the service and professionalism that Ryan Horstmann with Christian Brothers Roofing has provided. Here is a link to their website.

Personally, I will be excited to watch the snow melt this weekend. Come on spring!

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