- During the winter in the snowy regions of the country, you can drive down any road and see homes with large icicles hanging from the gutters. These icicles are the result of poor insulation, allowing the heat to escape through the roof and melting the snow on the roof. Once the melted snow hits the gutters, the heat is no longer hitting it from the house and it begins to melt as ice. Ice built up in the gutters over the course of a winter can become extremely heavy, in some cases heavy enough to cause the gutter to collapse. If the gutter is attached directly to the house, a collapsed gutter can cause a great deal of damage to the fascia and overhang on your roof. The solution to this problem is improving the insulation in your home, but an immediate fix is to remove the snow from the roof.
Ice and Water Shield
- When a roof is built there is an 18-inch-wide metal plate installed at the edge of the roof referred to as an ice and water shield. If the gutter is backed up during a rainstorm, the ice and water shield prevents the water from getting under the roof shingles and into the house. The same concept holds true for ice in the gutter. However, unlike rain, which dissipates as soon as it stops falling, ice in the gutter can become worse as more snow is added to the roof. It does not take long for the ice to build up past the ice shield, get under the shingles and start to leak into your home. As long as there is snow on your roof, the ice will continue to get under your ice shield.
Rooftop Snow Removal
- Do not climb on top of your roof with a shovel to remove the snow from your roof. The ice on the roof combined with the roof incline makes this very dangerous. Shoveling on the roof as you would on the ground can also severely damage your shingles and make the problem potentially worse. There are devices called roof rakes that can reach very high rooftops while you stay on the ground. The handles for a roof rake come in sections 6 to 8 feet long. You can add as many sections as you need to reach the top of your roof. You then pull the snow off of your roof so it can fall to the ground below. Avoid pulling too hard to avoid damaging your shingles, and also avoid trying to pull large chunks of ice off of your roof; this can also disturb the shingles. Remove the snow from your roof each time more than one inch accumulates on it.