When you look at your roof after a snowfall, do you find certain parts of it where the snow seems to have miraculously melted away? These bare spots are called hot spots, and they’re not a good sign at all. This short read will tell you why.

What are hot spots?

If you’ve ever wondered, “Why are those bare spots on my roof when the rest of it is covered in snow?”, you probably have hot spots.

Hot spots are an indication that heat is escaping through certain areas of the roof, and that causes snow to melt only in those areas while the rest of your roof is still snow-covered. The main reason for this melting snow is because the roof insulation in your home is wearing out in those places.

Hot spots are a sign that your roof has a high risk of ice dams forming, and that is something no homeowner wants.

What are ice dams?

ice dam causes

When the roof of your home is not properly insulated, it causes snow to melt in places because heat from your home escapes through the roof. This melted snow runs down the roof and refreezes, often over the eaves, making contact with the deck. Since this region is not exposed to any heat, ice begins to form, leading to the formation of ice dams. 

How do you know when you have ice dams?

Here are some telltale signs of ice dams.

  1. You have large icicles hanging from your roof, usually under the gutters or under the shingles.
  2. Also, You might notice hot spots on the roof.
  3. You begin seeing water stains on the ceiling inside your home.
  4. If you notice hills or mounds of ice on the bottom of your roof, you’re looking at ice dams. 
  5. Signs of water and ice inside window frames.

Why are ice dams dangerous?

  1. They can cause damage to your roof and gutters.
  2. They can uproot roof shingles and allow water to drain into your home, causing mold and mildew infestations as well as respiratory problems such as asthma.
  3. The icicles formed because of ice dams can fall and cause physical injury.

How can you deal with ice dams?

Ideally, dealing with ice dams is best left to roofing professionals. But we’re going to list out some quick fixes anyway.

  1. Gently tap the ice dam with a mallet to break it into small chunks, eventually getting rid of it. Do not use sharp tools like axes. Be careful not to damage the roofing shingles while you’re at it.
  2. Use a calcium chloride ice melter to melt through the ice dams. Do not, at any cost, use salt. Salt can damage the paint and metal.
  3. Clean out the gutters and downspouts.

How can you prevent ice dams?

ice dam prevention
  1. If you live in an older home, check the roof insulation and change it if required before the cold winter months begin. This will prevent any heat loss through the roof.
  2. Metal roofs do not allow ice dams to form, so consider changing your roof.
  3. The space between the roof sheathing and the insulation will not allow any heat that escapes to get to outside if it is vented. 

Read more: Issues renovating an older home

Roof insulation: Why hot spots on roof are not a good sign was last modified: December 7th, 2022 by Narayan Shrouthy
Your opinion matters, leave a comment
1 Comment
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

How annoying is the snow on the roof. It almost drowned my corgi