Denver Roofing: Article About Gutter Maintenance
Homes located in places that get heavy snowfalls and ice accumulation could face a risk of leaks if ice dams develop at the intersection of the gutters and edges of the roof. While the icicles dangling off the edge of the dam might look pretty, the whole situation can quickly become disastrous if the melting water finds its way inside the home. Instead of taking action once there is already a leak, homeowners can take preventive steps and work with a trustworthy Denver roofing expert to reduce their risk of ice dam formation.
The most effective way to prevent ice dams is to add insulation to the attic. Property owners can do this on their own with rolled fiberglass insulation. This material comes in widths of 15 and 23 inches and is designed to fit in the spaces between the attic's joists, which are usually 16 or 24 inches apart. No special tools are needed to install this insulation, although the homeowner should wear work gloves and a dust mask to avoid coming into contact with loose fibers. Homeowners might also opt to have professionals install loose fill or spray foam insulation, which costs more but is more effective at stopping air from escaping through the attic's roof.
While working in the attic, homeowners should also take note of the ventilation situation.
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Attics require 1 square foot of insulation for every 150 square feet of rooftop surface area. If the home doesn't have this amount of vent openings, a roofer can add them. The homeowner can select from gable, ridge or box vents for passive ventilation or a whole house fan or turbine vent for mechanical ventilating of the space. The increased ventilation can also help with interior comfort during the summer months.
Heat tapes are another effective way to stop the formation of an ice dam. The tape can be installed by a homeowner with just a few basic tools and supplies, such as an extension ladder and gutter clips. The heat tape must be plugged into an exterior electrical outlet in order to become activated. These cables create enough warmth to stop melting snow or ice from refreezing at night and can melt ice that has already formed within the gutters. If possible, these tapes should be installed before the roof is covered in ice or snow, as working along an icy roof can be dangerous to the homeowner or roofing crew. The tapes can be left on the roof all winter.