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Brr, it’s cold outside! Winter has officially arrived and we’re bundling up, lighting our fireplaces, and sipping hot chocolate. Unfortunately, the cold weather doesn’t just bring cozy nights by the fire; it also brings potential risks to your home, like ice dams.  Ideally, the snow on your roof should melt at the same rate as the snow on the ground. However, because some attics are warmer than the outside air, the roof snow begins to melt faster. Before it can drain off, it refreezes at the edge of the roof, forming an ice dam. The ice dam forces the water back up underneath the shingles, damaging the wood underneath the roof and causing leaks in the home. Water damage is the last thing any homeowner wants to deal with, but there are ways to prevent ice dams from forming.

  Remove snow from your roof Just like we shovel our driveways and sidewalks, our roofs also need to be taken care of during a snowstorm. Using a roof rake to remove the snow, especially around the roof edge, will help provide a clear path for the melted snow to drain. To prevent damage to the shingles, always rake by pulling down, not side-to-side. Roof snow removal can be dangerous and should always be done from the ground. If you are unsure of how to do it correctly, a professional can come out and do it for you.   Proper ventilation Ideally, your attic temperature should be as close to the outside temperature as possible, preventing the snow from melting faster than it should. Ventilation is one way to ensure your attic temperature doesn’t rise. Adding intake vents near the eaves of the roof circulates cold outside air into the attic, while adding exhaust vents at the ridge allow the hot air to escape. This helps keep the entire roof at a temperature similar to the outside air, preventing the snow from melting.  Insulate the attic Without proper attic insulation, the heat from the home’s living space rises into the attic, causing the attic temperature to increase. By insulating the attic’s floor, the heat is kept inside the home, helping to keep the attic temperature more consistent with the outside temperature.    Exhaust to the outside Make sure that the ducts connected to the kitchen, bathroom, and dryer vents all lead outdoors, and not into the attic. If the exhausts vent into the attic, condensation forms and attic temperatures rise.  Even though winter is already here, it’s never too late to ensure your roof is properly ventilated and insulated through a free estimate with Power. By following these tips, you’ll secure your home against ice dams, and enjoy peace of mind as the snow falls outside. Your hot chocolate will taste a little sweeter, too.

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