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Why is there Snow in my Attic?

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When winter comes, it often brings with it some beautiful scenes. Trees become bare, creeks freeze over, and snow blankets the neighborhood.  

When snow blows through town, we get a lot of calls from homeowners finding one specific issue: snow getting in their attic. When people find snow in their attic, it can be alarming at first, because they aren’t used to seeing moisture get into our homes like that. 

However, I can assure you, a small dusting of snow getting into your attic will not damage your home and doesn’t mean that your roof is leaky or malfunctioning. 

Read the rest of this article to learn more about how snow might be getting into your attic, what problems it could cause, and what you can do about it! 

What Causes the Snow in My Attic? 

Snow often gets into our attics as a result of high-speed, horizontal winds, which can blow moisture through attic exhaust vents.  

Attic vents

Very common in today’s homes are ridge vents, which let air out through a gap in the ridge of the roof. Water droplets or snowflakes that typically run right over the gap in a normal scenario, get blown in by the horizontal winds.A diagram showing how air should enter the attic through the soffit vents, and exit through vents near the top of the roof_WebP

Water is very difficult to notice when it gets blown in, as it is in such small quantities that it just dries up. Snow on the other hand, is much easier to see as it may accumulate before melting and evaporating.  

Snow is also more likely to be blown in than water. Since they are so small, snowflakes tend to act more like dust than water, allowing them to be pushed around more easily.

What Problems Could the Snow Cause?

In these small dust-like snow doses, little to no damage will occur, and there isn’t much to be worried about. In situations like this, having a little snow does not mean that your roof was incorrectly installed. The flakes are tiny and can slip through even the finest of filters, just like normal dust. 

In this circumstance, the snow will melt and evaporate, just like water would, leaving without a trace it was ever there.

it's difficult to say how much snow should cause alarm, as in our area of North Carolina, the type of weather that would cause this only occurs once every couple of years. 

This type of buildup is very rare in this area, as we don't often get the right amount or type of snow. If you are having several inches of snow in your attic every year or other year, it may mean that you have a break, leak, or installation error in your roof. 

What Should I Do About it?

Given that we live in an area of the country that does not receive this kind of blistering weather often, there isn’t much to be done for a rare dusting of snow.

Here in NC, and other parts of the South, we use a type of ridge vent that is optimized for maximum airflow in the summer months. Up north, the ridge vent they use prevents the snow from getting in, but restricts the airflow in the summer. That trade-off is much more reasonable in snowier markets because they don't get quite as hot in the summer.

If it does happen, don’t panic. The amount of moisture that will come from it won’t do any significant damage. The best way to deal with it is the same way you’d clean up snow you tracked inside your front door.  

If you received a very large quantity of snow in your attic, you may want to have a professional come to make sure your ventilation system was installed properly, and check for leaks. 

Want us to Come Take a Look?

If you find some snow in your attic, don’t worry. Chances are it’ll dry up soon enough, leaving no damage, and nothing you have to deal with.  

That being said, if you want to be sure there is no roof damage allowing water and snow into your home, give us a call, or fill out our form to get in touch with us! 

On Tops Roofing has been repairing and replacing roofs in the greater Raleigh area for over 30 years, so whatever problem you are experiencing, our technicians are more than equipped to handle it.

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