Avoid Ice Dams on Your Roof

Avoid Ice Dams on Your Roof

Ice dams can build up on roofs. An ice dam is a pile of ice that blocks water from running off of the roof. As snow melts water will build up behind the ice dam into a pool. Roofs on a house are not designed to protect against standing water, they are designed to facilitate water running off the roof. The standing water that builds up behind an ice dam can do considerable damage to a house if it is not removed quickly.

What is an Ice Dam?

When snow accumulates on a roof a cycle of melting and refreezing can occur. The snow melts on the surface of the roof as heat escapes from the attic through the roof. As the water runs down the roof it refreezes near the edge of the roof where heat escape is less and the surface of the roof is colder. This refreezing gradually builds up a ridge or heap of ice commonly referred to as an ice dam. The ice dam blocks the flow of melting snow, causing water to pool up behind the ice. When the ice dam reaches a certain size the water behind it will seep under the roofing, through the roof causing damage to the roof, attic, insulation, ceiling and walls inside the house. This situation can cause a lot of damage to a house and damage can occur quickly, especially as spring approaches and mild days cause water to pool up quickly.

How can Ice Dams be prevented?

The main cause of ice dams is an overly warm attic. To facilitate ice dam prevention, lowering the temperature of the attic is essential. This can be accomplished by installing additional insulation on the attic floor. There are limits to the value of this procedure, at a certain point more insulation will not help reduce the temperature any further. The next thing to do is to install weather stripping and /or insulation on attic stairways or hatchways, and attic floor mounted ventilation fans. Some recess light fixtures and vent fans are not meant to be covered so be careful to find this out from the manufacturer before covering them over.

Ventilation is very important for regulating the attic temperature. Without adequate ventilation there will be heat buildup in the attic no matter how much insulation and weather stripping is used. Soffit vents along with a ridge vent is ideal, the cold air entering through the soffits will move up the roof to the ridge vent and exit removing excess heat and moisture. If you can’t install soffits a ridge vent will still help a great deal. The ultimate goal is to keep the temperature inside the attic as close to the temperature of the outside surface of the roof as possible to prevent snow from melting and refreezing.

What can be done to the outside of the roof to prevent Ice Dams?

Even if you do everything right ice dams can still form under certain conditions. However, a properly installed roof will prevent most of the damage. A properly installed roof in snowy regions will have the following components: proper flashing, ice and water barrier installed on the edges of the roof and over all valleys, rolled asphalt underlayment (tar paper) over the entire roof, and high quality roofing shingles with the proper overlap.

Other preventative methods

Physical removal of the ice dam could be dangerous. If you have a flat roof shoveling the snow off is possible. If your roof is not flat you can use a snow rake to scrape as much snow as possible off, this will slow the buildup of the ice dam. Another possibility is to chisel grooves into the ice dam to allow water to drain from behind the ice dam.

As spring approaches damage from ice dams can occur quickly so beware of this situation and be ready to take action to prevent damage to your home. Whatever physical method you try use extreme caution to avoid falling or having sharp pieces of ice fall on you. Consider hiring a professional, the cost may actually save you a lot of money.

You Should Use Smokeless Candles in Your Home

You Should Use Smokeless Candles in Your Home

I recently came across an extraordinary new product-so-called smokeless candles made from soy product as opposed to traditional candle wax mixtures. The result is a candle that is still highly aromatic, but it does not leave a “residue” or put any smoke into the air. In small apartments and homes, regular candles can create a lot of smoke over time-also, it creates residue “stains” on the walls. (This is similar to the damage done to hotel room walls over many years of allowing smokers to stay there.)

I have found only one company that has a wide range of soy-based aroma candles. The company is called Soy Inspirations and it appears to be available at many supermarkets. Soy candles are more expensive than regular candles, but the results are remarkable-there truly is no smoke or lingering residue on my window sill.

A medium-sized Soy Inspirations candle cost me $8, but they seem to last for a standard amount of time. “Cinnamon roll” is my favorite kind so far-a rich cinnamon aroma fills my apartment and wafts out into the hallway.

Over time, especially as many affluent homeowners are health-conscious, I believe soy-based and other varieties of “smokeless candles” will become the industry standard. Normal wax candles will be a thing of the past, only making the occasional appearance in an antiques store or Williamsburg colonial reenactment.

If you have kids, you should also consider not using candles at all or switching to smokeless candles. It is simply irresponsible, in my opinion, to have something that burns and gives off actual particles-why not just smoke in your house?

As more consumers demand smokeless candles, they are likely to gain acceptance at major scented candle chains such as Yankee Candle.

I also recommend you try oil candles at some point. I am not sure if they are technically “smokeless”, but they do seem to give off less smoke and residue than wax candles. You can also place an oil candle in standing water for an amazing evening mood.

It is funny that even in 2018 scented candles have a place in the home. They are perfect for transforming a normal room into a “romantic” or sexy rendezvous spot. Although the burn from soy candles does not appear any brighter than that of standard wax candles, the odor appeared to be just as strong-if not more so. The cinnamon scent filled my room within a matter of minutes.

This Year, Resolve to Improve Your Home’s Security

This Year, Resolve to Improve Your Home’s Security

If you made it through 2017 with you and your family healthy and unharmed, congratulations!

If you haven’t made any New Year’s resolutions yet, here’s an idea for you. Ensure you and your family get through 2018 safe and sound by resolving this year to make some home improvements to protect against intruders. Let’s on the lights!

Almost everyone could stand to add one or two items to their home security repertoire. Here are some suggestions for you to help protect your home:

  • Install bright lights around your homes points of entry to deter a burglar for fear of being spotted
  • Make sure you have good quality deadlocks on all of your doors.
  • Stop hiding a key outside in an obvious place.
  • Put your family’s valuables in a fireproof safe or store them offsite in a safety deposit box.
  • Always lock your doors even when you’re at home.
  • Never let a strange into your home, no matter how official they might appear. There are many scams running rampant and some robbers dress as delivery personnel or other officials. Always ask to see ID and inspect it closely before letting someone in your home.
  • Don’t forget to lock your windows.
  • Never leave ladders or anything else alongside your home to help a burglar climb to the second floor to find a new way to gain entry.
  • Ensure your home’s doors are of high quality. If you did not change your locks when you moved into your current home, change them now. It’s never too late.

You can never be overly cautious when it comes to protecting your home. A few small improvements and minor investments can go a very long way in ensuring your family’s safety.


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