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Cold weather could cause ice damage on homes

Cold weather could cause ice damage...

COLUMBIA, Mo. - Roofing experts say a home works as a system. If one part of the system doesn't function properly, damaging and dangerous things can happen.

In the wintertime, that can include excess ice damming.

"Ice damming is when we have conditions like today," said Luke Meredith, a production manager with Como Premium Exteriors roofing company. "You've got snow on your roof and basically what's going to happen is hot air that comes from inside of the home or the attic is released through the underbelly of the roof."

That hot air gets into the attic due to poor ventilation and insulation. Meredith said many homes in Columbia are on the older side and have improper ventilation on the eaves and ridge lines. Those can be fixed, he said.

But when the hot air hits the snow, the snow will melt and work its way down the roof like rain.

"But in cold temperatures like this and with a limited amount of daylight, you're only going to see so much water during the day," said Meredith. "It's going to end up freezing back up."

As the water continuously melts and freezes, it will cause a backup on the roof. That creates a problem for standard shingles, which are typically layered from the bottom up.

"The water comes down and doesn't have a place to continue to go down," said Meredith. "It is going to work its way underneath those shingles, possibly break the seal and enter the home and cause damage."

Some insurance companies will cover water damage from ice damming in "good faith" but most of the time homeowners are on their own.

Preventing ice damming should happen during the warmer months. Homeowners can have an inspection done to check for improper installation or materials.

Also, if gutters aren't hung correctly or cleaned out, Meredith said, the water will build up during the winter and cause icicles to form. Most times icicles aren't a problem but if they get too large or the weight of the ice in the gutters is too great, the gutter can be pulled from the roof.

Meredith said he doesn't recommend getting on the roof in this weather because it can be dangerous, but for a quick fix for ice dams, homeowners can fill a few long socks or a pair of tights with rock salt and throw them onto the roof. The salt should melt the ice and cause the water to flow properly.


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