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Old 09-29-2008, 01:41 PM   #1
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Snow on the Roof Melting - Ed The Roofer


HI Ed (and others);

I read some of your recent messages about snow melting on roofs, and reviewed your photos and several messages over on the contractors board.

I ended up being a bit confused, does the snow melting unevenly on the roof indicate a venting problem or a insulation problem, or both? I am hoping that you could give me a general idea of what I need to work on - insulating, venting or both.

I have seen the snow melting in large areas of my roof in the winter, but am not sure what is going on. I am having trouble remembering exactly where it is on the roof that most of the snow melts, but I remember it being a fairly large area that tends to melt fairly quickly. I can post photos, and diagrams of my home showing the insulation, and vents if that would help.

I can always add more insulation in the winter without much trouble. However if I do really have to do something with venting, I would like to get that done before the winter hits here in Wisconsin.

When speaking about attic insulation in another thread, someone suggested ridge vents be added, but he was speaking more about using them to help cool down the house in the summer to save on the AC - Which doesn't really matter to me much because even in the hottest month here in WI, keeping the house very cold only costs about $100. However heating the house is getting outrageous, over $350 one month last winter, with a 2 year old high eff nat gas furnace.

Thanks so much;
Jamie

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Old 09-29-2008, 07:48 PM   #2
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Snow on the Roof Melting - Ed The Roofer


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Originally Posted by jamiedolan View Post
HI Ed (and others);

I read some of your recent messages about snow melting on roofs, and reviewed your photos and several messages over on the contractors board.

I ended up being a bit confused, does the snow melting unevenly on the roof indicate a venting problem or a insulation problem, or both? I am hoping that you could give me a general idea of what I need to work on - insulating, venting or both.

I have seen the snow melting in large areas of my roof in the winter, but am not sure what is going on. I am having trouble remembering exactly where it is on the roof that most of the snow melts, but I remember it being a fairly large area that tends to melt fairly quickly. I can post photos, and diagrams of my home showing the insulation, and vents if that would help.

When speaking about attic insulation in another thread, someone suggested ridge vents be added, but he was speaking more about using them to help cool down the house in the summer to save on the AC - Which doesn't really matter to me much because even in the hottest month here in WI, keeping the house very cold only costs about $100. However heating the house is getting outrageous, over $350 one month last winter, with a 2 year old high eff nat gas furnace.

Thanks so much;
Jamie
Jamie,

Snow melt, heat loss and Ice Damming all fall into the same category.

Firstly, if you have too much heat loss escaping into the attic area, that proves that your insulation R-Value is not sufficient enough.

The photos I posted showed that even in winter time, with heat migration into the attic, the "Hot Spots" created under the decking and shingles are minimized, due to the proper exhausting of the trapped hot air.

Remember, that once the environmentally conditioned heat has already bypassed the insulation barrier, it is history. It is not doing any good for the living quarters that you pay to have heated.

Also, the side of the home that faces the Sun, which more than likely would be your Southern exposure, will inevitably receive more of the suns rays creating the top layer of snow melt to occur.

By eliminating the underside of the snow pack to also melt, especially after the sun sets, the potential for eliminating Ice Dams and their associated problems are lessened.

In your case, the first thing to do, is to get your attic insulation beefed up to an R-48 level and ensure that you do not clog or cover any intake ventilation portals. The Shingle Vent II Ridge vent is not hard to add to an existing roof, but I would do it at around the same time as the insulation work.

That would require the hand removal of just the shingle ridge cap, with a gentle removal with a pry bar, and then cutting in the proper dimension slot line, staying about 12" away from the end of the roofs gable/rake edges. Then, install the 4 foot sections of plastic ridge vent, using a chalk line on the most visible side for straightness and also using either 2 1/2" or 3" long hand roofing nails, which are available from most roofing supply houses, (ABC, Allied, Shelter, West, etc...) but not typically found at Menards, Home Depot or Lowes.

You also would need to nail on the shingle ridge caps with the same length nails.

Ed

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Old 09-30-2008, 12:14 AM   #3
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Snow on the Roof Melting - Ed The Roofer


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Originally Posted by Ed the Roofer View Post
Jamie,

Snow melt, heat loss and Ice Damming all fall into the same category.

Firstly, if you have too much heat loss escaping into the attic area, that proves that your insulation R-Value is not sufficient enough.

Ed

ED: Thank You. I am going to get some photos together during the daylight. I also have the blue prints for the house, so I can take some photos of them, that will make it much easier to show you how it is setup.

Thanks again, I will get back to you tomorrow with the images.

Jamie
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Old 09-30-2008, 11:28 PM   #4
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Snow on the Roof Melting - Ed The Roofer


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Originally Posted by jamiedolan View Post
ED: Thank You. I am going to get some photos together during the daylight. I also have the blue prints for the house, so I can take some photos of them, that will make it much easier to show you how it is setup.

Thanks again, I will get back to you tomorrow with the images.

Jamie
Here goes... Sorry for making this long, but hopefully it will make it easy to understand my setup.

This is the south side of the house, The main attic starts about 1.5' above the 2nd story window in this photo:




This is the north end of the house, It's roof is lower, with a smaller attic on the last 20 feet of the house:


This shows the attic(s):


This is what the attic space on the second floor looks like (to the right of the steps in the drawing) It is insulated both between the rafters and in the interior 2x4 wall: (This is basically the same setup on the back side of the house on the south side)

There is some plumbing that runs in this space, so I do have to have some consideration for that, currently I have the plumbing blanketed with insulation, and it was enough to keep it from freezing.

This is the insulation (R9) - I didn't know they ever made a R9:


This is what the upstairs attic (the attic in the top 7 feet of the house): looks like:


And this:


A real photo of the vent on the south side of the home:



The vent on the south side of the house (at the end of the higher roof):


The vent at the very end of the house (north side):





Thats basically the run down on my situation. So are the ridge vent still recommended?
Any thoughts on my R-8 attic space? I'm not sure that both the rafters and the inside wall are suppose to be insulated, but not sure how else I would set it up?

Thanks very much
Jamie
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