Heed the warnings and check your roof

While it has been a bitterly cold winter and we have had snow, it hasn’t amounted to huge drifts that confound home and business owners daily.

And what snow we do have can look pretty at times – like if one is channeling the artist Terry Redlin.

But careful that the Redlin image in your mind of snow pillowed high on a cottage, farmhouse or barn doesn’t completely drift over your reality. Snow, or at least too much snow on your roof, is dangerous.

Every year it seems we are cautioned to check our sewer vents on the roof to be certain they are open, and to keep our gas meters clear of snow.

That’s good advice. Still, another threat lurks above our heads in hard to get at places. Ice dams.

It seems that the snow we got this winter came in just the right amounts or with the right amount of wind to cause layers of it to build up on rooftops. Under the right conditions, that snow and ice can cause significant damage to a home or business.

Reporter Kim Fundingsland gave us the lowdown on ice dams in Saturday’s edition, and his article is worth a close read.

He explained that ice dams are build-ups of ice along gutters and overhangs. A tell-tale sign is usually the formation of icicles.

“It is happening a little more than usual this winter because of the amount of snow we’ve had and the lengthy period of cold weather,” Bruce Johnson, of Johnson Roofing, Siding and Gutters said in Fundingsland’s report. “If you can see icicles up there, if ice is building up six inches or better, it will flow back into the house eventually.”

Fundingsland explained that as snow melts from heat escaping a roof or from exposure on a sunny day, the resulting water reaches the gutters and eaves where, without a heat source along the overhanging edge of a roof, cold temperature quickly causes the melting snow to turn to ice. The expanding icepack pushes underneath the protective shingles.

The article went on to say how ice dams can be dealt with should one form. More good advice.

So, after taking a look yourself, if you aren’t certain whether or not you have an ice dam forming, get a neighbor’s opinion. If you still aren’t convinced your roof is OK, call an expert.

But you should check the roof visually first, from the ground.

The good news is that doesn’t cost a thing. Neither does dreaming of a breathtaking Terry Redlin winterscape.