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Energy problem – no snow on roof

27 January 2009 3,327 views 14 Comments
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Q: I was walking around my neighborhood today and saw that my roof barely had any snow on it, but my neighbor’s houses did. I think we have the same roofs. Is this a problem?

Probably. If you don’t have snow on your roof, this points to an energy leak through your attic to the roof. What’s probably happening is the warmed or heated air in your home rises, and the last place it gathers is the attic. Typically, there are attic vents or ventilation fans to disperse the additional heat. There is also a ton of insulation in your attic, or at least there should be, to prevent overheating the roof.

Now, if no one had snow on their roof, that would be one thing. The sun might have warmed the roof and melted the snow. Or the snow may have melted because of a mild temperature. But since your roof is the only one with the problem, you most likely have an energy leak.

This could be serious. If energy is leaking through your ceiling and out to your roof, heating it frm underneath and melting the snow, there is a real potential for serious (and expensive) roof damage or even structural damage to the attic. Ice jams could result as well. All this is in addition to wasting money on energy – because you’re losing the energy through the roof.

This is the reason high grade insulation is in place in the attic, and the reason vents are there as well. The isulation is there to prevent the heat that is built up from seeping through the ceiling to the roof, and the vents alleviate the heat buildup. The two work in tandem.

Check the insulation level in your attic. I think you’ll find it is inadequate. Check to make sure also that your vents are unobstructed. If you have attic ventilation fans, make sure they work. If you are in the attic and it is extremely warm, the insulation is probably doing some of its job but the heat build up is too great. There’s probably  a ventilation problem. On the other hand if it is very cold, the insulation is probably woefully inadequate and barely stopping any heat from leaving your home.

Did you know?

The last 3 houses I looked at for an energy assessment had R-19 insulation in the attic studs? In this area, R-49 is recommended for attic spaces. Check your attic insulation right now.

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  • Jinny said:

    Hi there,
    Thanks for article. Everytime like to read you.
    Have a nice day

  • Richard said:

    The DOE estimates that more than fifty percent of heat looss from the average home in the winter time is through the ceiling.

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    I found your blog on google and read a few of your other posts. I just added you to my Google News Reader. Keep up the good work. Look forward to reading more from you in the future.

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  • Maddison Richards said:

    i think the best roofing are ceramic based because it is a very good insulator.*”`

  • livereceptions said:

    I like this post and site, I think green roofing more important, it protect us and our children.

  • David Begum said:

    We always choose metal roofing instead of ceramic roofing because we believe that metal roofs last longer.”,:

  • Hannah Hall said:

    the best roofing is either ceramic or metal roofing;*;

  • David Andersen (author) said:

    Hannah, this isn’t really a question comparing roofing materials, however. Its not a question of metal roofs versus asphalt, or ceramic versus a tile roof – its the insulation and heat loss / transfer that occurs because of an underlying problem. Now each material will have its own emissivity and insulation properties (R-value). So in essence some materials might be able to cut down on heat loss themselves – but no material currently made or placed on roofs is capable of replacing quality insulation in the home, and specifically, in the attic.

  • Sofa Slipcover  said:

    i always use metal roofing because it is more durable compared to other types of rooing,**

  • Thermoplastic Elastomers : said:

    when it comes to roofing, the best type is still metal roofs but they are not that aesthetically pleasing compared to ceramic r’-,

  • Air Conditioner Reviews said:

    I think that good insulation is worth every single dollar and you should take care of it. The same problem is in the summer, when you are cooling your room with air conditioner. If you have good insulation, it can spare your energy bill significantly.

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