News from ServiceMaster by Ayotte

On January 29, 2018

How much snow can your roof handle?

If you live in an area where there is heavy to moderate snow, it is a good idea to keep an eye on your roof to make sure the build up of snow and ice is not causing damage to your home.  If too much snow or ice build up on your roof it can cause areas of your roof to weaken, leak or even collape. If your roof is old, needs maintenance or if you've noticed ice dams in previous years - make sure to keep a close eye on it this yearUse these tips to help keep an eye out for trouble coming from your roof and prevent damge.

Heavy snow fall
It's important to keep in mind that roofs can typically withstand 20 pounds of snow per square foot. How are you supposed to know how much snow is up there and how heavy it is? Without giving you an equation to calculate the load per square foot - that question is hard to answer - which is why we recommended you clean snow off your roof as soon as possible after a snowstorm so it does not get packed down since packed snow is much heavier than fresh snowfall. You can get your hands on a snow rake for not too much money and will be worth it if you prevent expensive damange to your house. 

Ice dams
When the heat from your home rises up and melts the snow on your roof, the water will run down the slope and then re-freeze near the cold edge of the roof. If this occurs, an ice dam has formed and you will start to see icicles form. This is not a good sign because any additional water can then be forced up and under your roof causing gutters to tear off, shingles to loosen and water to leak into your attic and ultimately your house.

So what are you supposed to do once you see ice dams? RUN! Just kidding! However, it is another reason we recommend clearing snow off your roof as soon as possible after a snowstorm - if the snow does not build up, it cannot melt and create the ice dam in the first place. However, if you do expereince ice dams there are some steps you can take to deal with them.

1. If you're noticing ice dams to be a really big issue, you can run heated cables in a zig-zag pattern on the edge of your roof to prevent the water run off from freezing.
2. If that doesnt work, and you see water leaking into your house you can try taking a box fan into the attic and aim it at the underside of the roof where water is freezing or actively leaking in. The cold air will freeze the water so it does not continue to come in to your house. 
3. If that still doesn't work, it might be time to call in a professional who can work to mitigate the issue in your attic before you find yourself dealing with large internal issues like peeling paint, cracked drywall,  warped floors and stained/sagging ceilings. 

However, if it's too late and you have issues created from heavy snow and icy dams  - CALL US!

ServiceMaster is here to help with restoration after any disaster.

Schedule an appointment today and see what we can do.

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