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.