The heavy snowfalls this winter combined with the moderating temperatures this week is adding up to serious headaches for some homeowners in the Okanagan if their roofs are susceptible to icedamming.
If the ice backs up melting water, it could do damage as it's forced up under shingles where it can begin leaking into the house.
Penticton’s "Gutter Done Right" owner Craig Tilson says he’s been busy answering calls for water leaking into residences.
“With the weather we’ve had, it’s been a problem. First with the really wet snow, then the cold, which froze the bottom layer on the roof. Then heat escaping from the attic heats the roof, the water melts and rolls down to the eave where it’s colder. The water freezes, forms an ice dam, then water starts backing up on the roof," he says.
The water then enters the house in various ways - through the ceiling, into walls and out window frames, etc.
“Every situation is different,” Tilson says.
Some homeowners get frustrated when it happens, blaming it on poor workmanship or shoddy construction, but that’s not the case.
“Even properly constructed roofs can leak. It’s Mother Nature not cooperating,” he says.
Tilson says preventive measures can include placing heat wires on the outer edge of roofs and in gutters to ensure snow doesn’t freeze or ice forms on the roof. Heat wires placed in the gutter also keeps water flowing into downspouts and away from the roof.
The past few days’ warm temperatures and rain has reduced the snow load on many roofs Tilson notes, adding a continued thaw should put most of the present issues to bed.
Total Restoration Services' Tracy Van Raes says the company has been very busy the last couple of weeks answering calls related to ice damming.
"Typically we see ice damming in areas like the Tulameen and Princeton, where they get cooler temperatures and heavier snowfalls, something we don't see that often," she says.
"Make sure things are draining properly around the perimeter of your home, garage and sheds. If you can't climb up on a roof yourself, call upon a neighbour or a handyman to help you," she advises, adding her company can remediate water damage and dry homes properly.
"The most important thing that every homeowner can do to prevent ice damming is to make sure their roofs are cleared from snow and ice. Do not allow build up. It is equally important that one uses extreme caution not to damage the shingles or gutters when breaking ice away from roof," she advises.