After the last snow event in Lees Summit, I went out into the neighborhood and snapped some pictures. This one shows how well a ridge vent works and is something your roofing contractor should install when you do need a new roof.
In a previous blog on ice dams, I identified that one of the ways to prevent ice dams was better roof and attic space venting. While this roof has an inadequate amount of ridge vent (typical of a hip roof), and is relatively low pitch (~4:12), it does show the effectiveness of ridge vents in our locale as the vent itself is completely clear and working well (and thus minimizing potential for ice dams). People tend to think that ridge vents will get blocked by snow, closing the vent and rendering them completely ineffective. However note that the snow is even coated on the roof, but the ridge vent remains completely clear. This is actually a GAF Cobra Snow Country Vent, but other roofing manufacturers have their own equivalent ridge vents that are comparable.
Now then, what if you see the ridge vent blocked? This would be a problem. Ridge vents are the exhaust vents, the intake vents or in the soffits, or roof overhangs. If there is insufficient intake venting, there is not going to be enough airflow out the ridge vent to keep it clear. Inadequate venting can lead to ice jam problems. In the picture, the ridge vent is accompanied by a continuous soffit vent which offers more than adequate airflow.
Again, following a snowstorm is a great opportunity to snap some pictures of your roof that will be valuable later when you need your roof replaced. Your roofing contractor won't see what snow patterns you have on your roof when they are replacing it in much more pleasant weather conditions, and you can share y our winter pictures with them.
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