Look up, look way up: Warmer weather may bring roof problems for homeowners
'You want to make sure that there's no ice buildup,' says roofing company manager
With warmer weather finally around the corner, Edmonton homeowners need to start thinking about the condition of the roofs over their heads.
Highs around 5 C are forecast for next week, which means melting snow could put a damper on spring celebrations.
Homeowners should keep an eye on their roofs for ice damming and other problems, Jeremiah Dunlop, general manager of A. Clark Siding and Roofing, told CBC News in an interview.
"You'll see it usually along the eaves the lower parts of your roof," he said. "You'll see it at the bottom layer and when it starts turning into icicles and things like that, you know you're getting into a lot of problems."
Dunlop explained some of the potential issues while one of his workers shoveled snow off a nearby roof.
- VIDEO: What you should be doing to prevent ice dams forming on your roof
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"When you have a lot of snow on your roof and it starts to melt, it turns into water, turns into ice, and it goes back and forth as we go through the freeze-thaw cycle," he said.
When ice prevents air flow to the attic, that can result in condensation.
"If you're getting condensation you're usually getting frost and ice inside of your attic," Dunlop said. "And when that melts, it looks like it's leaking. But really, it's just the condensation that builds up from the heat and moisture from your house going into your attic."
Preventive measures can help, such as making sure the attic has adequate insulation and venting.
Removing snow from the roof is a good idea, but Dunlop recommends hiring a professional to do it as it can be dangerous.
For those determined to do it themselves, he suggests using a telescopic snow rake, so the job can be performed from the ground.
The potential severity of the problems will be dictated by the weather.
"We're going to have to endure this week with a few negative afternoon temperatures but we see, finally, some melting, warm temperatures," Environment Canada meteorologist David Phillips said.
"So we start melting that snow, there's 38 centimetres of snow sitting on the ground. You've got to melt that, get the look of winter out of the way."
There's little doubt that most Edmontonians are hoping for the temperature to quickly rise and stay there but Phillips believes a slow melt is beneficial.
"You don't want to go from slush to sweat because that will create standing water, it will create flood problems," he said.
"What you want is almost like maple syrup kind of weather where it melts during the day and freezes at night."