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Ice jams, moisture buildup and more: How to winterize your roof through Iowa's harsh winters

From ice jams to moisture buildup in attics, Jared Harrison with R3 Roofing and Exteriors has had calls for just about everything so far this winter.

URBANDALE, Iowa — The wild swings in winter weather, both precipitation and temperatures, are certainly putting a strain on all sorts of infrastructure, including our homes.

Jared Harrison, general manager of R3 Roofing and Exteriors has seen all sorts of calls from customers seeing an impact on their roofs.

"The first thing people usually call us a lot for is ice dams," Harrison said.

Ice dams form by snow or ice freezing in gutters, giving any melted water nowhere to go except down into an attic or crawl space area.

The short term fix is to grab a shovel or rake and use it to clear that frozen stuff out of the gutter by getting up on a ladder or using an extension pole. 

For a more long-term fix, contact a roofing contractor. When working properly, your home's ventilation and gutter systems should mitigate ice dams from forming in the first place.

Wild temperature swings above and below freezing with rapid humidity changes can also exacerbate how quickly moisture can build up.

That means if you see a water mark on your ceiling, it probably isn't the roof that's leaking. 

"Make sure that all of those pipes are sealed up [in your attic], make sure that all the connections are proper at the roof line where the pipe connects, and again at the ceiling down low. If that's all lined up, you shouldn't be having that issue," Harrison added. 

Weather stripping can also be your best friend; from doors to windows and crawl space openings, stripping cuts down on that monthly utility bill by keeping the heat you paid for in the house.

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