Problems With Icicles

April 11, 2015

Snow/Ice dams reveals potential roof damage and problems…and yes, it was a brutal winter!

Although wintertime home inspections have little to no roof visibility due to snow cover, wintertime can reveal other issues that would be unknown during summer weather. (There are always challenges during home inspections here in northeast Ohio!) Many inspections this past winter showed major icicles and ice dams that can lead to roof leaks and potentially damage to the interiors of homes.

The general cause of ice buildup is heat loss in the attic space coupled with poor ventilation. For more information on what causes ice dams, check out this explanation of ice dams from the University of Minnesota.

Causes of icicles can include:

  • Lack of proper ventilation (i.e. lack of gable vents, roof vents, soffit/ridge vents, etc.)
  • Blocked ventilation points
  • Marginal insulation or lack of sufficient insulation
  • HVAC/forced air ducts running through the attic space
  • Solar radiation

Repairs & Upgrades:

  • increase ventilation, consider installing a powered attic fan
  • reduce heat loss from the interior
  • install additional insulation
  • install electrical heat cable/zig-zag cable

As always, it is recommended to consult a licensed contractor for repairs.

Happy Spring,


A Major “Red Flag” in Home Inspection

March 18, 2014

This is not the way to bake a pie… This lighting “fixture” obviously speaks for itself.

From an inspector’s standpoint, safety hazards are a priority for me to point out throughout the home inspection process. I’ve blogged about railings/safety in the past, but just had to post this makeshift light. I found it in the basement of a recent home I inspected. It is a major red flag and definitely landed a prominent spot in my inspection report.

Please Note: the pie plate is not considered an approved electrical fixture!  And the fact that the exposed wiring is not properly covered in the junction box is another safety concern.

Do not attempt this nostalgic fixture in your home… no matter how good Grandma’s pie is!

Please don’t hesitate to call me if you have electrical or lighting questions.

Have a great week,