Winter is coming. Ah yes, winter in New England. So begins a season of Christmas music, traffic jams on 93, and snowfall. One must only look back to the nor’easter of 2013 to remember how quickly “nice” weather can change in New England. It’s not too late to take steps to protect your home. With over forty years of service, we at O’LYN Roofing pride ourselves in being the roof experts. This year we have compiled a helpful list to protect your roof from the elements:
1. Inspect for Water Leaks. It is likely too cold and slippery to man a ladder, but you can safely begin a visual check of your home by simply going into your attic. The first thing you will be on the look-out for are water leaks. Check the attic for dripping water, condensation, and dark water stains. This visual inspection should be conducted on the ceilings, walls, and floors. Signs of water leaking may indicate ice dams or damage to your roof.
2. Inspect the Ventilation. The proper ventilation of your home is important. Ventilation allows warm and humid air to escape preventing damage to your insulation and ice damage on your roof. Ensure gable and ridge vents are clear from debris like dust, branches, and leaves. For homeowners who have soffit vents, you should ensure that these vents are not obstructed. Often many homeowners make the mistake of blocking the vents with insulation which prevents proper airflow.
3. Inspect the Exterior of your Home. Loose shingles may be a warning sign that your roof may leak during the winter. Gutters should always remain clear to allow proper drainage and the prevention of buildup on your roof. Additionally, flashing should be inspected around roof vents, chimneys, and piping. Sometimes high winds may loosen or tear off flashing which may result in leaks.
4. Inspect your Attic Insulation. Proper insulation in your attic can save you up to twenty percent on your home energy bill. In addition, proper insulation prevents ice dams from forming on your roof. Many older homes in Massachusetts lack proper attic insulation and are at risk for ice dams. The International Energy Conservation Code recommends at least 7–10 inches of insulation depending on the type of insulation used and other factors.
5. Inspect your Attic Furnace. In homes that have a furnace in the attic, it is important that the heat does not leak outside. The installation of vents and the insulation of rafters will help keep heat inside your home. Also, insulation blankets over a furnace’s heating ducts can help reduce the buildup of heat in the attic.
6. Removal of Ice Dams. If your roof is leaking during the winter it is most likely because of ice dams. An ice dam is a wall of ice that forms at the edge of your roof usually near the gutters. When a dam forms, water backs up behind it creating a pool of water. The water will force its way underneath the shingle causing leaking in your home. Ice dams are a result of poor ventilation and insulation in the attic area resulting in the release of hot and humid air onto your roof. There is a home remedy for the removal of ice dams, although it is always recommended that a trained professional remove the ice dam. A push broom or snow rake may be used to brush the snow off the roof. Be careful when using metal objects to push the snow off and never push upwards or sideways when shoveling the snow. You do not want to damage the shingle granules as this will not be covered under any shingle warranty.
7. Removal of Snow from Solar Panels. Most solar equipped homeowners do not know that even a little snow or ice on the solar panel will drastically decrease a solar energy system’s output. To remove the snow or debris, we do not recommend that you hose the panel down with water or use rock salt. Instead attaching a squeegee device to the end of a roof rake or using a telescoping soft roof rake is the best way to remove snow and debris from your solar panel without damaging the panels or your roof.
Sometimes the inspection of a roof, removal of ice dams, or repairs are best left to a professional. O’LYN Roofing has been in the business for forty years. We promise that we will take care of you and your roof. We always ensure the job is done right the first time. Call us at 1-855-280-6691 for your winter emergencies or email us at [email protected]’LYNroofing.com.