Snow, ice detrimental to house health

This week's heavy, wet snow and upcoming warmer temperatures and rain could mean trouble for some area homeowners and businesses.
Becky Vargo
Feb 9, 2013

Lots of icicles have been forming on buildings, which also could mean there are ice dams building up on roofs, said Jim Tjapkes, general manager for Action Roofing of Grand Haven.

“It’s not a problem when they’re hanging down from your eve,” Tjapkes said of the icicles. “It’s only a problem when it builds up on your roof.”

Tjapkes — who has been in the roofing business for 30 years — said conditions are right for the dams to form, with all the snow that fell Thursday and early Friday and the warming trend predicted for early next week. He said his employees are already working in a lot of areas — moving snow from the roofs of schools, businesses and county facilities.

The problem for a homeowner begins when snow piles up on a roof and heat escapes into the attic, which causes the snow to melt. As the water travels down the roof, it hits the eve, which is not heated, and freezes. Once that ice builds up to more than a couple of inches, melting water can’t get past it and the water starts backing up into the house.

“It’s really important to keep the ice off the roof,” Tjapkes said.

Most factory buildings have flat roofs, so when a lot of snow melts and the water can’t get to the drains, it will seep into the roof penetrations, such as pipes or heating and cooling units.

To read more of this story, see Saturday’s print or e-edition of the Grand Haven Tribune.

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