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.

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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.

November 13, 2008

:318 Predict Ice Dams

Take the 1:5:10:365 challenge: Do one thing – for 5 to 10 minutes – 365 days a year to make our home and planet environment better.

1:5:10:318 EcoTip: Thermal imaging can be used to predict locations on the roof where ice dams are likely to form. The thermal imaging camera is used to locate hot spots. These represent the areas where snow will melt. If the melted snow has to run down an area of roof where the water will refreeze, then the formation of an ice dam becomes more likely.

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Courtesy of MoistureView.com

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 Additional Information:

Suggested Review: :313, :317

The large blue area in the thermal image above represents a cold area with missing insulation where the attic eave vent is located. The heat from the house will escape upwards warming the underside of the roof. If snow is present the extra warmth may cause it to melt and run down the roof onto the cold overhang. If conditions are right the water will refreeze and form a dam that prevents subsequent water flowing downward from draining off the roof. This water can then migrate into the home. This thermal image can be used to predict that water from any ice dam that forms from this missing insulation is more likely to drain down into the wall cavity causing damage.

Tomorrow’s 1:5:10:365 EcoTip will show how this eave area could be insulated and ventilated at the same time.

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November 12, 2008

:317 Prevent Ice Dams

Filed under: :317 Prevent Ice Dams — Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , — John Banta @ 12:50 am

Take the 1:5:10:365 challenge: Do one thing – for 5 to 10 minutes – 365 days a year to make our home and planet environment better.

1:5:10:317 EcoTip: Ice dams occur when roof snow melts over warm areas of a roof then refreezes as it runs down into colder areas. The frozen blockage creates a dam that prevents the water from draining from the roof. The water that becomes trapped can then migrate up under the roof shingles and drain into the house causing water damage. This can be especially expensive when the water drains into the wall cavities and isn’t discovered and dried quickly.

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 Additional Information:

Tomorrow’s 1:5:10:365 EcoTip shows you how to predict areas where ice dams are likely to occur.

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September 29, 2008

:273 Cool Roofs

Welcome to today’s 1:5:10:365 Tip for becoming a better steward for our home and planet environment.

1:5:10:273 EcoTip: Cool roof is a term used to describe roofs that reflect light instead of becoming hot. According to a paper presented by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory scientist Hashem Akbari if every roof and area of pavement in the 100 largest cities in the world was switched to a cool roof and more reflective pavement, the reduced heat would offset 44 metric gigatons of greenhouse gases – an amount greater than all the greenhouse gases emitted by all the countries on our planet each year.

Image reprinted from the Cool Roofs Rating Council Website

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 Additional Information:

In 2005 the state of California required that all flat roofed commercial structures switch to white roofs. The technology has developed such that in 2009 California will require that all new and retrofitted roofs on both residential and commercial structures be heat-reflecting. When properly manufactured even colored roofs can be reflective.

 For additional information see the Los Angles Times September 10, 2008 articleTo slow global warming, install white roofs.

The Cool Roof Rating Council (CRRC) is an independent, non-profit organization that maintains a third-party rating system for radiative properties of roof surfacing materials.  You can use their directory to search for cool roof products.

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April 13, 2008

:104 Roof Types

Welcome to today’s 1:5:10:365 Tip for becoming a better steward for our home and planet.

1:5:10:104 EcoTip: A well anchored basic roof is less likely to suffer damage than a complex roof. Hip roofs seem to hold up better than gable roofs.

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Hip Type RoofGable Type Roof

image credit: Restoration Consultants

Additional Information

Suggested Review – :098, :099, :100, :101, :102, :103

Intricate roofs or those with numerous valleys and changes in pitch are more likely to leak when wind-driven rain forces the water under the flashing or roofing materials or when roofing shingles are blown off. The roofing shingles near the roof edge, which faces the worst winds, should be set in special mastic during construction or re-shingling. Don’t run a solid line of mastic, use dabs so if water does get under the shingles, it will be able to drain back out. Try to eliminate or minimize penetrations through the roof with special louvered storm vents instead of the standard types of ventilation vents. Roof overhangs help protect walls against water intrusion much better than zero clearance overhangs.
 

Climate change isn”t only about warming. In my book- Extreme Weather Hits Home: Protecting Your Building From Climate Change, I discuss how to prepare your home for many extreme weather conditions such as high winds.

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April 11, 2008

:102 Roof Slope

Filed under: :102 Roof Slope — Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , — John Banta @ 12:01 am

Welcome to today’s 1:5:10:365 Tip for becoming a better steward for our home and planet.

1:5:10:102 EcoTip: Roof slope makes a great deal of difference in the uplift force exerted as wind flows over the top. The steeper the slope the less chance the roof will fly away.

Credit: Simpson-StrongTie Co., Inc.

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Additional Information

Suggested Review – :098, :099, :100, :101

 The following excerpt is from my book – Extreme Weather Hits Home:

The same forces that allow airplanes to fly are exerted on roofs exposed to strong winds. The angle of your roof can make a great difference to whether your roof will stay intact or sail away like the wings of a plane. Research conducted by Clemson University at their wind load test facility has demonstrated that a category 5 hurricane can develop uplift as much as 100 pounds per square foot. This is typically enough to lift a house right off its foundation. The lifting force is greatest for flat or low-slope roofs. As the angle of the roof increases the force drops. A roof slope between 4.5 and 6.5 seems to be the least aerodynamic. A gable roof will act more like the wings of a plane than a hip roof which slopes down on all sides, helping to cancel lift forces from all directions (Clemson).

The lifting force of wind is tremendous. When airplanes taxi for takeoff they achieve speeds in the 50 to 150 mph range, which is about the same as those speeds found in damaging winds. The roof of your home has a much greater lifting surface area than most airplane wings, allowing the entire roof to be lifted off the house. Once the roof is gone the walls will easily collapse. The lifting force for a roof — just like an airplane wing — is caused by the Bernoulli effect of air passing over the top of the roof creating lift. Some people have advised keeping your windows open to help neutralize the interior building pressure but this doesn’t really work and will let in lots of water causing additional damage to the interior. The best way to keep homes intact when exposed to strong winds is to keep them in one piece and securely fixed to the foundation.

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April 8, 2008

:099 Weak Garages

Suggested Review – :098

Welcome to today’s 1:5:10:365 Tip for becoming a better steward for our home and planet.

1:5:10:099 EcoTip:  The attached garage is usually one of the weakest parts of a home. This is because the large garage door is poorly supported in comparison to other areas of the house. When strong winds, tornados, hurricanes, floods or earthquakes hit the unsupported garage door, the weakness makes it easier for the walls to collapse. The garage roof falls and can pull the roof for the rest of the home along with it.

Tomorrow I will discuss bracing garages for greater duribility

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Additional Information

The information in this post has been taken from my new book – Extreme Weather Hits Home.

Extreme Weather Hits Home, Protecting Your Buildings From Climate Change

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February 27, 2008

:058 Evaluate Your Roof

Filed under: :058 Evaluate Your Roof — Tags: , , , , , , , — John Banta @ 12:01 am

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Credit: Extreme Weather Hits Home

Suggested Review – none

Welcome to today’s 1:5:10:365 Tip for becoming a better steward for our home and planet.

1:5:10:058 Tip: When it comes time to re-roof consider upgrading your roof to a higher quality. It will last longer and be better able to withstand the challenges from extreme weather conditions.

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Additional Information

In my book Extreme Weather Hits Home, Protecting Your Buildings from Climate Change I talk about many of the steps that can be taken to make a roof more durable.

Some of these are illustrated in the above diagram.

1. Use solid sheathing not skip sheathing. If the shingles are damaged, the solid sheathing can provide temporary protection from water intrusion until repairs can be made.

2. Use H-clips (Hurricane clips) to join the exterior grade plywood panels together for greater strength while maintaining the correct spacing.

3. Use a self-stick membrane to seal the joints between sheathing. Only seal the joints. If you cover the entire sheet of plywood, moisture may become trapped leading to rot.

4. Use a high wind nailing pattern (six inches or closer).

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These and other tips for preventing damage and first aid measures for recovery from extreme weather conditions are covered in my new book.

Its available from your local book seller or on line. For more information go to www.extremeweatherhitshome.com

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