Don't let all this damned Utah snow turned into dammed ice in your gutters | Urban Living

Wednesday, March 29, 2023

Don't let all this damned Utah snow turned into dammed ice in your gutters

Urban Living

Posted By on March 29, 2023, 4:00 AM

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It's hard to say, "It's spring!" when it just keeps snowing and snowing. If you live in the Salt Lake Valley, you probably don't have much snow stacked up in your yard, but on the benches, homes that face north still have up to a foot in some places.

Then there's all the snow in the canyons. We're breaking records, right and left, for snowfall and, when this stuff does melt, some folks are going to be dealing with ice dams, water damage and mold.

During and after snowfall, your roof warms in two ways, leading directly to the snow melting. One way is when the sun's rays are refracted through ice crystals in the snowflakes that have collected on your home's roof, creating warmth and melting the snow. Another way is from heat rising from inside your home escaping through the attic and its vents and warming your roof.

When roof snowmelt reaches your cold gutters, it can freeze into ice. This process of thawing and refreezing creates ice dams in your gutters, which can cause water to back up under the shingles or behind the fascia boards where it can lead to damage to the roof decking, wall sheathing or the ceilings and walls of your attic.

Ice dams can cause awful problems and cost a lot of money to fix. The absolute worst thing you can hear in your home is the sound of dripping water if you didn't turn on the tap. If water gets under your shingles, it will pool in the attic and then run down your walls or inside your walls and could end up in your basement.

The scary part is that you might not hear the water trickling until it's too late, when your ceiling can fall in on you. It starts as a bubble in the paint that grows into a huge bubble before it pops. Then, lo and behold, attic insulation and sheetrock tumble down onto the floor. Or it travels inside the walls and you find your basement has water in it from the roof dam. It can happen slowly or quickly depending on the outside temperatures and weather conditions.

The longer the melting water runs into your home, the more damage it will cause. Almost immediately, mold will start to grow in any warm area of the home that the moisture touches. Mold can lead to serious breathing and health problems and, many times, it isn't discovered until it's wreaked havoc in your home.

If you see a bunch of icicles hanging from your gutter, knock them down. You can also add insulation and heating wires on your roof and in your gutters to eliminate this problem.

About The Author

Babs Delay

Babs Delay

De Lay is realtor/broker/owner of Urban Utah Homes and Estates. She is a former member of the Utah Transit Authority's Board of Trustees.

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