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Look to Your Roof this Winter

The snow flurries yesterday reminded me of an easy energy efficiency tip for the impending winter season. Before a FLAME E3 specialist visits your home, look at your roof.

The way snowfall lies on a roof and the patterns it creates are signs of your home’s energy efficiency. If your home looks something like the picture above, take a deep breath and relax, you most likely have a tight house. In this example, the snow cover is even over the entire roof, and there are no visible icicles. This means the attic is well-sealed and insulated.

Look at the home above and compare it to the first example. Here we see only snow left on the eves, and large icicles have formed over almost every gutter. This pattern indicates that the attic is poorly insulated if insulated at all. Warm air from your home is leaking into the attic and heating the roof from below. The heated roof causes snow to melt. Water from the melted snow then builds up on the cooler eves to create icicles and possibly dangerous ice dams. The more water trapped in the ice dam, the greater the potential for moisture to seep into the home between roof shingles.

Do you notice anything about this home? Look at the roof vents. The “Halos” are caused by warm air venting out of the attic. In this case, we know that the attic is well insulated because there are no icicles or snow melt (aside from the halos). Our problem is that the home still leaks conditioned air into the attic while the roof is not heated. That conditioned air is then vented from the attic to the outdoors. What a waste of energy!

When the snow starts to fall this winter, look to your roof. If you notice any suspicious patterns, call an E3 specialist at FLAME and have your home inspected. It could be the first step to stopping major damage to your home before it starts.

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