Effective Ventilation System Maintenance Stops Ice Damming

Without a working ventilation system on your roof, your home could thaw out snow and ice on the roof, turning it to water. The water pools, then freezes and melts again causing roof damage and leaks.

– And for home owners who haven’t done regular maintenance on their roof, that means water damage from ice damming! After every winter, we visit many homeowners have to repair water damage caused by ice damming by snow on roofs and in gutters because they failed to do regular effective ventilation system maintenance.

Roof Function: Shelter, Drainage, Ventilation

Our roofs take quite a beating during their lifetime. Because they are fully exposed, roofs catch the brunt of weather’s worst.

A roof system is composed of several elements that work together to provide three basic, essential functions for your home – shelter, drainage, and ventilation.

The roof covering and the flashing are designed to shed water, directing it into gutters and downspouts that channel it away from the foundation. Air intake and exhaust vents keep fresh air circulating below the roof sheathing, preventing moisture build-up as well as heat build-up.

How the Roof’s Ventilation System Works

Heat travels by convection, conduction, and radiation. Because energy costs a lot of money it’s important to prevent the warm air from escaping through walls, ceilings, and roof. Insulation and vapour barriers trap the heat, or slow its flow.

During winter months we heat our homes. Our home’s interior heat rises and permeates through the ceiling vapour barrier and attic insulation and causes ice and snow to melt resulting in possible water leakage. Homes that are poorly insulated tend to warm up the ice and snow on the roof more readily.

The resulting water from the melting gets trapped, creating an “ice dam” on the roof, gutters and downspouts.

Removal is not easy – in the process of removing this ice and snow it is easy to cause damage to the roof- and it’s dangerous. An alternative emergency method to avoid damage if the interior heat problem can’t be corrected is to create water runoffs through the ice and snow so the water is directed to flow off the roof.

The ideal method is for roof ventilation to pull air through the soffit vents and exhaust it through an individual roof or continuous ridge vent.

It is recommended that you have a clear space of least 2 inches above your ceiling insulation to allow the moisture that moves through your attic insulation to exhaust through roof ridge vents.

A regular timely inspection of both the interior and exterior of the roof is a must because of the way roofing problems can develop. Attic rafters and sheathing should be verified checking for signs of water damage. The damage symptoms appear as streaking, or discolouration, and moist or wet areas.

Other things to be checked include the ventilation system, to ensure that air is flowing properly:

  • The airflow through vents must be free and unobstructed.
  • The roof exterior should be checked for signs such as granule deposits in the gutters, curled, buckled, torn or missing shingles that allow moisture to gather causing further damage.
  • Flat roofs whose drains freeze trap water, which if allowed to accumulate to a level higher than the roof flashing, may result in water leaks in the roof system.
  • Skylight vents covered with ice and snow may cause leaking because internal condensation can’t escape. Ensure contractors know about the skylights when clearing the snow.

Should your roof leak and the water forms pools above the ceiling, puncture a small hole and allow water to escape into a container. If water pools near an electrical source, shut down the circuit breaker immediately.

Never use heating devices, such as torches, to melt the ice although using special cables designed to melt snow and ice available through most home renovation stores like Reno Depot and Home Depot is allowable.

Regular maintenance recommended
Effective regular maintenance of your home’s ventilation system can improve your health, reduce heating and cooling costs, make your home more comfortable.

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Lay Chan Wee
Lay Chan Wee
01:19 31 Aug 21
I was impressed with the service provided by Rui Su. He was organized, explained in detail area that I am not familiar... with. He provided a good report. I will recommend him if you need home inspection.read more
Mary Jane Caro
Mary Jane Caro
14:25 27 Aug 21
I am always pleased to recommend Carol Mose from Mose Home Inspection Services to my clients who have had offers... accepted on residential real estate properties. She is knowledgeable, thorough, provides clear explanations, and delivers comprehensive reports.read more
Massimo Pannunzio
Massimo Pannunzio
22:05 25 Aug 21
Michael has got to be on of the best home inspectors in all of Quebec. It was amazing working with him and he had my... best interest at heart when making a life changing decision. He made sure I had all the answers and made it easy to work with him. I will be using Mose inspection for any moment that I need an inspection done that's for sure!read more
Amanda Lee
Amanda Lee
19:14 16 Jun 21
Amazing experience with Carol Mose who helped me with a pre-purchase inspection! She was very approachable and... observant, and informed me of all her first impressions on-site. This gave me greater understanding of any conditions as I was able to ask any quick questions on the spot. Her reports are the most thorough that I've seen and include diagrams to help explain what any physical signs mean and potential consequences. Could not have asked for a better inspector!read more
Maeghan Banks
Maeghan Banks
15:38 14 Jun 21
Carol was wonderful to work with for our pre-purchase inspection. She was professional, thorough and communicative,... taking the time to explain her findings as we went through the house. After the inspection, we felt we had clear knowledge of the condition of the house (both pros and cons), allowing us to move forward with the purchase with confidence. Highly recommend!read more
Ryan Chalupovitsch
Ryan Chalupovitsch
13:43 01 Jun 21
Carol Mose is the best home inspector in the business. Approachable and extremely knowledgeable. She did an... inspection for me and really took the time to explain her findings and help me understand the home I was looking to purchase. Cannot recommend her enough. Don’t hesitate.read more
Elisabeth Faure
Elisabeth Faure
21:16 29 Apr 21
This is the second time I have used MOSE, and they are always really amazing. Very nice, very professional. they came... to have a look at my roof and let me know if we were due for a repair - I was very satisfied with everything and would recommend them to anybody!read more
Hannah S
Hannah S
22:05 16 Apr 21
I had a great experience with Mose home inspection. My husband and I are first time homebuyers and so had a ton of... questions about the process. Everyone we talked with was really informative and helpful. Michael was our inspector and was phenomenal. The inspection was very thorough and he explained everything in detail with realistic next steps for us to take. We came out of the inspection feeling really informed. Plus, he is just an absolute delight! He had very contagious enthusiasm and made the inspection a really positive experience. Would highly recommend!read more
Gabriel Lukuc
Gabriel Lukuc
03:05 16 Apr 21
Michael was amazing. He took the time to explain to us what’s really important and the reasoning behind it. We’re not... very handy nor savvy when it comes to home construction so we really appreciate him taking the time to explain to us all aspects of the inspection. Also, Michael was friendly, professional and timely; he provided the report over a holiday and a weekend.read more
Stephanie Ballard
Stephanie Ballard
14:24 19 Mar 21
MOSE is the best in the business. Once again we were happy with their inspection services - they are professional,... friendly and knowledgeable. Would not hesitate to recommend to friends and family (and have)!read more
Rodrigo Morales
Rodrigo Morales
18:27 10 Sep 20
Home inspection
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