Does anyone have a roof rake I can borrow?
The recent frigid weather has brought homeowners a host of problems. Many friends and neighbors (including me) have come home in freezing temperatures to an ice-jammed gutter or the dreaded sound of dripping water because of a burst pipe. And then there is the feeling of panic when you turn on your faucet and nothing comes out.
We called an expert to ask the home maintenance questions that are on everyone's chapped lips these days. Alan Beal, president of Mid-Atlantic Inspection Services, took our questions last week in between calls from his own clients desperate for some cold-weather smarts.
Q: Does this bitter cold wave, with many days below freezing, require special care of a house?
A: Yes. A lot of times, people ignore the general recommendations of what you should do to winterize your house. Some years, you can get away with not doing some of the things, but when it gets to subfreezing temperatures . . . you can have some serious problems if you have not shut off the valves for the exterior hose connection or had your gutters cleaned.
Q: What is the definition of ice damming?
A: Ice damming is when snow melts off the roof and then refreezes because the gutters are either clogged with leaves or blocked with snow and ice or both. The melted water has nowhere to drain, so it pools and starts to back up. If you see icicles, it's a clue that this is happening. The water comes over the gutters and drips down to form icicles. So if you see them, you are at risk.
Q: Should you try and knock the icicles down?
A: Well, if they are large, they could start to pull your gutters down, and you don't want anyone to be hit by a falling icicle. So you might knock them down carefully to reduce the load on the gutter. But it won't really change your susceptibility to moisture intrusion due to ice damming. The reason you are getting them is that the water isn't draining properly.
Q: What about roof rakes?
A: Roof raking is not a bad idea because you can get rid of the snow that is melting. But you have to be very careful doing it and also be careful not to damage the roof. You can also hire gutter cleaners or roofers to rake your roof.
Q: What can you do to prevent ice damming?
A: Have your gutters cleaned four times a year, at the start of every season. It's especially important to have it done at the end of the fall. Unfortunately ice damming can happen even if you have your gutters cleaned. If you have an attic, you should add insulation to keep warm air from going up to the attic and allowing ice to form on your roof. If you have a home energy audit, they will also identify places in the attic such as the recessed lights and ductwork that should be caulked or otherwise sealed.
Q: What advice can you give us on preventing frozen pipes?
A: Make sure you know where your home's water shut-off valve is, because if you get a burst pipe, you have to turn off the water. If you have a home with additions or a crawl space, these can be big risk areas for freezing pipes because the walls aren't insulated properly. If you can get to the pipes, you should insulate them with a special black rubber foam pipe insulation that wraps around individual pipes. If you have had issues before, keep the light on in that room and use a space heater, following manufacturer's instructions for proper operation, to provide more heat to keep pipes from freezing.
Q: What's another thing to check?
A: If you have a drain line from your HVAC system or a humidifier attached to them and it drains outside, make sure to check the drain frequently in freezing weather to determine that it's not frozen.
Q: What about window condensation?
A: People with older houses and single-pane windows with no storm windows get a lot of condensation in this weather. It later can freeze, melt and damage the woodwork. You should mop up the moisture with towels and try to keep it away from the wood.
Q: If it snows a lot, what are things we should be aware of in home maintenance?
A: Make sure the exterior vents are clear, and the same with downspouts that drain and don't go into an extension. Uncover your dryer vent.
Does anyone have a roof rake I can borrow?
- Community News Network
VIDEO: Kentucky AG holds back tears, announces he won't defend marriage ban
In a tearful statement that went viral this week, Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway announced that he would not defend his state's ban on gay marriage in court. Conway made the announcement after a federal judge ruled that Kentucky must recognize same sex marriages performed in other states. However, Gov. Steve Beshear said he will hire private attorneys to appeal the judge's order.
2 in Indiana sickened after eating contaminated Skittles
Health officials say packages of Original Skittles sold at a convenience store in Richmond, Ind., were contaminated, and two people who ate from a package were hospitalized with symptoms including burning throats, cramping and diarrhea.
Target seeks new technology head after data breach
Target Corp., still reeling from a security breach that exposed the personal information of tens of millions of customers, is seeking a new top technology executive to help prevent future attacks.
Avenger an American value
If you’re someone who appreciates the golden age of domestic sedans — those big, comfortable, heavy-feeling cars with a uniquely American sense of style — this one ought to pique your interest.
Frigid U.S. weather means highest power prices since '08
Freezing temperatures gripping the eastern U.S. will result in the highest electricity prices in six years for consumers in Boston, Dallas and San Francisco.
VIDEO: Will the NFL move the extra point to 42 yards?
The NFL's Competition Committee is reportedly in preliminary talks about spotting the ball at the 25-yard-line for point-after-touchdown attempts, which would make PATs 42 yards, according to NFL.com.
Do flu shots cause runny noses?
The vaccine used in the study is similar to FluMist, of which 13 million doses were distributed in the United States this year. The work helps explain why runny noses were an occasional aftereffect of FluMist in clinical trials.
Polar vortex may prove to be a powerful pesticide
The deep freeze, with arctic blasts from the polar vortex, has put invasive insects on ice in dozens of states. That includes the emerald ash borer, a pretty bug that does ugly things to ecosystems it invades.
VIDEO: Best moments from the 2014 Oscars
We've got the best moments from The Oscars 2014 including Jennifer Lawrence's falls and Brad Pitt photobombing Ellen.
Dwindling Midwest high school grads spur college hunt
A waning number of high school graduates from the Midwest is sparking a college hunt for freshman applicants, with the decline being felt as far away as Harvard and Emory universities.
- More Community News Network Headlines
- VIDEO: Kentucky AG holds back tears, announces he won't defend marriage ban