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.

December 24, 2008

:359 Cold Surface Condensation

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.

1:5:10:359 EcoTip: The dew point occurs when temperatures on a surface are cold enough to cause condensation to form. If this happens on the outside of a can of soda – its not such a big deal – but if it happens on or inside wall or building cavities – the condensed water can result in damage and mold growth.



 Additional Information:

The blue area in the thermal image shown above is missing insulation. If the indoor temperature is 68 degrees F, and the humidity is 50% condensation will develop if the surface temperature hits approximately 50 degrees or less. The condensed moisture can result in water damage and mold growth.

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September 22, 2008

:266 Finding Moisture Pockets

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

1:5:10:266 EcoTip: Thermal imaging using an infrared camera can help identify materials that are wet after flooding or water intrusion. Depending on the nature of the damage – many materials that look dry may in fact be wet. Capillary action and movement of water vapor can cause secondary damage that goes well beyond where the action water flowed. A thermal imaging scan can quickly help identify areas for investigation with a moisture meter. This can help identify pockets of moisture that might otherwise be missed. 


Thermal Image of a wet wall courtesy of Restoration Consultants at www.moistureview.com


 Additional Information:

Suggested Review: :037, :256, :276, :258, :259, :260, :261, :262, :263, :264, :265

This is the eleventh in a series of EcoTips about working around buildings when participating in disaster recovery such as occurred with hurricane Katrina and is going on now with Ike. This information is timely since 2008 is the most active hurricane season since 2005 and many buildings are being damaged.


John Banta with Fluke thermal imaging camera from www.moistureview.com

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