Homes Plus

January, 2016

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By Sara Rae Lancaster SPECIAL TO HOMES PLUS The saying "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure" doesn't only pertain to your physical health. The overall health of your home depends on regular preventive maintenance, too, regardless of the season. One perennial threat to homes in the winter is ice dams. "An ice dam happens when you have a combination of hot and cold coming through the roof," said Randy Miller, owner of AllRite Home and Remodeling and S&E Insula- tion, Inc. The culprit is a lack of insu- lation. As heat escapes into the the home's attic spaces, it warms the roof, causing the snow to melt, Miller explained. "But when that melted snow hits a cold spot, it can pool and refreeze. It can lead to water damage on the roof and even issues inside your home." The amount, type and loca- tion of insulation all play a role in preventing ice dams. Most experts recommend blown or spray foam insula- tion for attic spaces and an R- value around R50. However, ensuring the attic space has proper ventilation is also key in preventing ice dams. "Proper ventilation is cru- cial so you keep the cold air coming in at the soffit and the hot residual air going out from the ridge vent," said Jake Ruiz, vice president at QRS Group Inc. "In theory, if you have proper ventilation, you will have no ice damming issues." As a general rule of thumb, a well-ventilated attic should follow the 1/150 rule: There should be 1 square foot of ven- tilation for every 150 square feet attic space. In certain sit- uations, if a vapor retardant is being used on the home for instance, the 1/300 rule may be followed. However, ade- quate ventilation can be a challenge for certain homes because of their roof line, Ruiz added. "Cape Cod-style homes in particular are especially chal- lenging because they have very little or no soffits," he explained. That's where maintaining clear gutters and properly connected downspout exten- sions, as well as investing in a snow rake, can help. "Your goal is to reduce as much snow as possible so when it melts you aren't left with a lot of water that could potentially pool and refreeze," said Christopher Wittmann, senior sales representative for exteriors at Callen Construc- tion. How much raking is neces- sary? Not as much as home- owners might think. "About 3 feet past your exte- rior wall should be more than sufficient unless you're talk- ing about a super heavy snow," Miller said. When raking snow off the roof, the key word is "skim." C O N T E N T S Deicing salts and their impact on yards, plants Type of filtration makes a difference when it comes to room air cleaners What to be aware of as effects of El Niño ripple through area, A publication of the Waukesha Freeman and Oconomowoc Enterprise • January 2016 Your Guide to Homes, Home Improvement, Lawn & Garden and MORE! HOMES HOMES WAUKESHA + Before the ice dam breaks Home maintenance steps to take in winter Courtesy AllRite Homes and Remodeling Proper insulation can play a key role in preventing ice dams from forming, along with maintaining and clearing gutters, home improvement professionals say. See ICE DAMS/Page 4

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