3 Common Problems with Heavy Snow in Cache Valley


heavy snowfallThe Weatherman Sees Snow In Cache Valley

As I left my apartment to head in to work today, I paused.  I couldn’t be exactly sure, but I think that I saw a few very small snowflakes fall to the ground before I got into my car.  If I did, a storm certainly hasn’t picked up today.  Any snow that might have fallen hasn’t stuck, but the snow is coming. There’s no question about that. The long-term forecast for Cache Valley’s weather this month is going to see dropping temperatures and a lot of rain and snow.  There will be plenty of sunshine, too, maybe, but definitely plenty of precipitation. While it remains to be seen if we’ll get as heavy a snowfall as last year, it’s definitely time to be thinking of what to do about it.


Snowfall Can Damage Your Home

You probably already know that snow can damage your house.  If you’ve lived through any winter in Cache Valley, you’ve seen what it can do.  I spoke with Alpine Cleaning and Restoration to learn some of the most common problems you can run into with heavy snowfall.


1. Leaks and Roof Damage

One of the most common problems is leaking and roof damage.  As the snow falls on your roof, the warm air from inside your house will cause it to melt. As it melts, it will flow down away from the heat and freeze again.  As it does, some of it will travel up underneath your shingles, where it gets warm and melts again.  As this process repeats itself, it soaks the shingles and worms its way through them. This can rot the shingles and lead to leaking.

2. Spalling Brickwork

Melting and freezing snow can hurt the sides of your house as well as the roof.  As the water pours down the side of your house, it seeps into the little cracks and spaces in the brickwork.  Later, when it gets cold again, in freezes.  As it expands, it chips away at the stone in a process called spalling.  This makes the side of your house look uneven and ugly at first, but over time it actually weakens the structural integrity of the wall itself.  If left unchecked, the wall may eventually collapse.

Ice Dam3. Ice Dams

The process of melting and freezing also creates ice dams. The melting water accumulating in a certain spot causes large clumps of ice to form.  The build up usually forms around the edge and along the siding of your house, but it can form anywhere that the melting snow on your roof can get cold again.  Wherever they form, the build up gets heavy.  The weight of the ice dam can collapse your roof, snap your gutters off, or even present a risk to your safety and property.  Ice dams form heavy icicles that can break off and fall on you or your car.


What Can I Do About It?

The best thing to do about damage from heavy snowfall is to prevent it (the damage, not the snowfall).  The best time to take action would be probably a couple weeks ago, but if you haven’t already done it, now’s a good time to start.  It’s a good idea to have your roof inspected before winter.  A good inspector will be able to spot the leaks and potential problem areas and can patch them up before the snow makes real problems.  To avoid ice dams, it’s a good idea to make sure your attic is properly insulated from the rest of your house.  If you can keep the warm air of your living space out of the attic, the snow will melt much slower, reducing ice build up.  It also helps to clean out your gutters so that any melting snow has a place to go instead of a place to accumulate.


Get On Top of It

Once the snow comes, the only thing you can do is work to remove the snow and ice.  This may work, but climbing up on ladders or onto roofs in the middle of winter is uncomfortable and risky.  You could easily slip and fall and you don’t want that.  So, before the snow falls, you should take the necessary steps to reduce the problem at the start.  Take some time to get your roof inspected and any problems fixed early so you can hopefully prevent the problem entirely.  Some ice may, indeed probably will, still build up despite your best efforts, but you’ll find it much easier to remove if you take action now.

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