1:5:10:365 EcoTip Blog

January 28, 2009

2009 Ice Storms

Here we go again. over a million people are without power due to ice storms across the Midwest stretching down into Texas. Ice storms are a huge problem for buildings constructed in areas where they are not common.

One of the things that is happening is warmer temperatures in the outer atmosphere mean there is more moisture. When this moisture condenses it begins to fall as rain. If surface conditions are below freezing, the rain drops freeze and become ice. When upper atmosphere temperatures are cold the water falls as snow not rain. Snow is less damaging since it weighs about 1/10th as much as ice.

In addition to the power outages – we should anticipate an increase in building roof collapses. Steeper sloped roofs are better equipped to deal with this extreme weather where at least some of the ice will generally slide off. Flat roofs tend to accumulate the ice and are more likely to collapse from the load.

Some areas have been reported to already have about 6 inches of ice with another 6 inches potentially falling in the next 24 hours. Twelve inches of ice on a roof weighs about 60 pounds. That is a huge amount of weight for a roof since many roofs in areas that are not commonly exposed to the weight from ice and snow have been built to hold a minimum of twenty pounds. 

We should also anticipate problems with frozen plumbing and ice dams.

For more information about these topics type the following key words into the search engine for this site (right hand column) do one search at a time: ice dam, plumbing, thermal imaging, roof, can light, frozen.


If you need help with damage – the  IICRC is the place to go for a referral to a specialist in these types of problems. The following is from their web-site:

The IICRC is a nationally accredited, non-profit certification body that works to protect consumers from deceptive and unreliable companies in the cleaning, restoration and inspection industry. IICRC-Certified Firms and Technicians must meet the highest industry standards to maintain their good standing.

IICRC offers water and flood damage tips at http://www.certifiedcleaners.org/ts_tips_advice.shtml you can use their directory search to help find a certified firm or call 1-800-835-4624.

John Banta is the author of Extreme Weather Hits Home: Protecting Our Buildings from Climate Change.

January 10, 2008

:010 Water Damage

Welcome to today’s 1:5:10:365 Tip.

1:5:10:010 Tip: There are many ways that buildings can become water damaged. Few situations will ever be as extreme as when levees broke after hurricane Katrina.

When water damage does occur it is important to get a specialist in water damage involved as quickly as possible to help return the building to a safe and habitable condition and prevent mold growth. Just because materials feel dry to the touch doesn’t mean they are. Moisture meter measurements are the only way to be sure of what is going on below the surface. The time to learn what to do when a pipe breaks or a tree-limb comes crashing through the roof during a rain storm is – before it happens! Of course prevention is best, but accidents still happen.

FEMA tells us that a quarter of buildings that get flooded from disasters are located in areas that were not deemed to be prone to flooding. So if you don’t know what to do when water strikes, you should spend another 5 minutes reviewing some basic information below.


New Orleans after Katrina, credit: Jocelyn Augustino –  FEMA


Additional Information

The Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification www.iicrc.org is the place to go for flood damage restoration company referrals. They have tips for minimizing post flood damage at http://www.certifiedcleaners.org/water_damage.shtml



Listed companies must promise to abide by the IICRC’s code of ethics and be insured.


You can read more information about preparing and protecting your home from floods and other extreme weather events in my new book Extreme Weather Hits Home Protecting Your Buildings From Climate Change. Published by New Society Publications. www.extremeweatherhitshome.com


Would you like to receive an email alert for each new 1:5:10:365 EcoTip? Sign up for a Google Alert.

Blog at WordPress.com.