According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, “Every year, at least 430 people die in the U.S. from accidental CO poisoning. Approximately 50,000 people in the U.S. visit the emergency department each year due to accidental CO poisoning. There are steps you can take to help protect yourself and your household from CO poisoning.”
The saddest part is that CO poisoning is completely preventable. One of the ways you can help reduce the risk to you and your family is by making sure that your roof repairs have been done correctly.
Often times, when people start the process of repairing roof damage after a hail storm, or replacing shingles due to age, they get wrapped up in the details of the insurance claim, or focus all their attention on how gorgeous their new roof is going to look. Curb appeal and cost of roofing repairs are certainly important, parts of the process, but they should never be prioritized over safety.
One of the final steps in any quality roof repair should be to check to make sure that vent caps have been replaced correctly.
“Our process is to have a trained specialist come to perform a full vent check.” says, Brent Colvin of Ready Roofer, Inc. “After the roof is installed, the Ventilation Technician will come and put a snake line camera down each vent to make sure that none of the pipes got pulled apart in the attic.” In addition to ensuring that Carbon Monoxide has an efficient escape route out of the top of the home, Colvin explains that ensuring the vent pipes are intact is also important because the venting is essential for reducing the heat in the attic, which in turn reduces the likelihood of condensation that could lead to mold and mildew growth.
Hiring a quality roofing company, is one of many important steps to preventing Carbon Monoxide Poisoning in the home. One easy step is replacing the batteries in your home’s CO detectors. The CDC recommends new batteries every 6 months.
Other culprits for potential CO release are your heating system, water heater or any other gas, oil, or coal burning appliances you may have. Having regular servicing by professional technicians is always the safest bet for these devices.
Never run a vehicle or generator or charcoal grill too close to the home, or inside an enclosed space.
If you are worried that you have been overexposed to CO, seek medical attention immediately.
There are few things more relaxing than sitting down in front of a nice crackling fire while the snow piles up outside your home. Unless of course, you start to think about what could be happening on top of your roof as a result of all that snow.
In certain conditions, the heat from inside your home can cause the snow on your roof to melt into water, which will then flow down the slope of the roof toward the edge. When it reaches the portions of your roof that are not directly over warm living space, it will freeze again. If enough ice accumulates, it can prevent melted snow from draining altogether, and then the trapped water over the heated part of the home will work itself up under the shingles during the warmth of the day, and then freeze at night. The frozen water will then expand every night, and melt and contract every day, causing significant damage to the roof over time.
So how do I prevent roof damage caused by ice dams? According to the National Weather Service, there are a few precautions you can take to reduce the odds that you will need to replace your roof after a long, snowy winter.
First, anything you can do to make sure that your gutters and downspouts are clear of debris and draining at full efficiency will help immensely. If there is any back-up in that system, the potential for ice dams is amplified.
Next, do your best to clear snow from the edges of your roof using a roof rake or long-handled push broom. However, it is important to be very cautious not to cause worse damage by raking your roof with too much force, or by attempting to actually scrape the ice from the roof. Also, be careful not to pull heavy snow or ice down on top of you while standing underneath it. Remember that a typical insurance claim will cover damage caused by the elements, but will not help pay for damage that was caused by your attempt to prevent damage.
If you are replacing your roof, ask your roofer about a product called, Ice and Water Protector, which goes on between the roof deck and shingles, and which is designed to create water-tight end and side laps as well as to seal around nail holes after the shingles are attached. Ready Roofer is one roofing company that recommends installing this product whenever possible based on building code.
Also, make sure that your attic is properly insulated. If you can keep your attic cool by preventing it from absorbing the heat from inside the living space, then you will minimize the temperature differences between different areas of the roof, which will result in the snow melting more evenly over the surface of the roof. An R-Value of 30 - 38 is recommended depending on the climate you live in. Always check your local building codes to determine the exact requirements.
Finally, ensure that you have sufficient ventilation in the soffits or eaves of your roof, or on top. At Ready Roofer, we recommend using the following formula to calculate the appropriate amount of ventilation
Now that you have taken care of all that, you can go back to relaxing by the fire, knowing that all is well up on your roof.
Image Provided by National Weather Service.
Buying a new roof is a big decision. It’s most likely going to be part of your home for multiple decades. And unless an insurance company is helping you pay for your roof repair, it’s probably one of the bigger investments you will need to make in your home. So how do you decide what color shingles are going to be best? Well, there are two major factors to consider when deciding on shingle color: curb appeal, and energy efficiency.
First, let’s talk about the curb appeal of your new roof. When it comes to your roof, looks definitely matter. Most people want a home that looks great from the outside. This is called curb appeal. When your friends come to visit, you want them to be awe stricken with the gorgeous color you chose for your shingles.
In the United States, two shingle colors stand out above the rest as being the most popular. At the moment, according to an article by Mark Lotz on medium.com, those colors are black and brown. However, with certain types of architecture, other colors may be a better fit. And if you are thinking of selling your home, a fresh new roof with the perfect shingle color is going to catch the eye of everyone driving by, and hopefully entice them all into a giant bidding war, netting you a profit on the sale of your home that dwarfs any amount of money you may have saved by using less energy with a lighter color roof. Which brings us to the other category, energy efficiency.
The other big factor is energy efficiency. The amount of energy required to maintain the ideal temperatures inside your home is going to be affected by the color of your shingles. As you probably know, dark colors absorb heat, and light colors reflect heat. So, if you are in a colder climate, you should get a black roof, and if you live in a warm climate, you should get a white roof, right? Right! Well, sort of….but there’s more to it than that.
Remember that a black roof isn’t going to have a chance to absorb much heat from the sun if it is covered in a blanket of white snow. With that said, according to Fred Pierce at the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, reports do show that there can be a measurable difference between the amount of energy required to heat a home with a dark roof and that required to heat one with lighter colored shingles.
Conversely, as you would expect, there is also a significant difference between the amount of energy required to cool a home with a dark roof vs. a light one, when outside temperatures are higher than comfortable indoor living temperature. Remember, though, that this difference can be minimized with proper insulation in the attic, and proper ventilation installed in the soffit or on top of the roof.
Also, if you are interested in efficiency because of the fact that it corresponds with financial savings, it’s important to keep in mind the fact that you may easily make up for any money you may spend cooling a the living space under a dark roof, just based on the probability of fetching a higher price when you sell your home.
One last factor to consider when selecting the best roof color for your home, is the cumulative effect of the shingle colors of all homes on the temperature outside. This meteorological phenomenon is known as the Urban Heat Island. According to Keith Oleson of the National Center for Atmospheric Research, the difference in reflectivity or albedo as it is called in the industry, between a city full of black roofs, typically 32 percent albedo, and white roofs, typically 90 percent, would decrease the urban heat island effect by a third, which is enough to reduce the maximum daytime temperatures by an average of more than a full degree.
At the end of the day, your selecting the best roof color is going to depend on who you are, and which factors you think are most important.