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Tip #43: Snowmageddon!

With 49 states experiencing snow this winter, (lucky Hawaiians!), many rental property owners are now facing the ugly side of Old Man Winter – ice damming.

Ice dams occur when the top of a roof is warmer than the bottom. As snow or ice melts from the top and rolls downward, the water cools and then re-freezes near the bottom. If the weather stays cold, the dams builds in size, and ultimately shove water up under the shingles and into the house, damaging the interior.

Unfortunately, doing nothing is not a good option.

Ice damming is one of a property owner’s biggest headaches, in part because it happens when the roof is too icy to access safely.

The trick to eliminating ice dams is to keep the roof temperature consistent. While there are heated de-icing kits available, it may be easier to keep the roof consistently cold rather than hot.

Check your roof for ice dams. The location of the dams gives you an indication of the source of the problem.

Find out why your attic is releasing heat onto the roof – the insulation may be packed too tightly to allow proper ventilation, or there may be air leaks around vents, for instance.

Consider cooling the attic down with fans.

Find out why the heat from the house is escaping into the attic in the first place.

Unfortunately, your best option may involve a roofing re-do this spring.

See last week’s Landlord Quick Tip.

Do you have a quick tip to share with other landlords? Please email our editor at [email protected]

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