I'm confused about something. I've always heard that you can tell how
good the insulation is in the attic/roof by how long it takes for the
snow to melt off the roof. Does good insulation in your attic/roof make
the snow melt off quicker or does it take longer?
I tried looking at different roofs in the area to figure this out but
it only confuses me more. For example, my garage and shed still have
snow on them but my house doesn't. Sometimes a neighbors (much newer)
house will have snow on the roof and mine won't have any. Then I look
at another shed that has no insulation and is somewhat in the shade and
it has no snow on the roof.
When I searched on Google, that confused me as well because unless I'm
reading something wrong (I probably am) it's saying that my shed has
better insulation than my house! BTW, the roof of the garage and house
are both facing the southwest and the garage roof is only slightly
lower than the house roof.
Typically good insulation will make the snow and or frost last longer
on the roof. If you have a garage that's uninsulated, without a
ceiling, the interior/roof will generally be the same temperature.
You can also tell a lot about the health of your roof and attic by
looking up on the roof regularly. For example if you have a spot near
the eave that constantly melts but there's snow above and below, you
have insulation/ventilation issues. This leads to a whole list of more
questions, is there vent space between the insulation and the roof, is
there adequate ventilation from the eave to the peak?
Here's a link on ice dams that explains a lot about roof ventilation:
and another for some great information on heating and ventilation:
If you suspect issues and are able, crawl into the attic and see what's
For the rate of snow melting to have any relation to insulation, the
space underneath has to be heated, like the living space of a house.
If the insulation is lacking, enough heat can rise to the roof to make
it melt faster. However, even here a lot depends on other factors
too. If the roof is poorly vented, it will likely melt faster, as
little outside air can work it's way inside. And obviously the
exposure the roof has to the sun is going to be a big factor. A roof
facing southwest is going to melt a lot faster than one facing north.
The garage roof is going to take longer to melt, because there is no
heat in the garage.
The unheated shed in the shade may have had less snow to begin with,
being blocked by trees perhaps?
The house wastes heat thru poor insulation. The heat melts the snow
on the roof.
So the longer the snow stays on the roof, the better the insulation.
As soon as enough snow melts for sunlight to hit the roof, then all
bets are off - because some roofs absorb much more heat than others.
Other responses are good, I'll just add that if the exposure and amount
of snow caught are even approximately the same on the two houses, it's
a reasonable bet that owing to the fact the neighbors' house is newer
it probably is better insulated and more tightly sealed than yours.
It's pretty likely with these symptoms that more attic insulation would
be a discernible cost-saver. Most utility companies have programs for
energy assessments that are either of no or fairly low cost or at least
have lists of companies that do them that have been screened. Might
check in on that as a starting point. It might be there's even some
cost-share for any upgrade/improvements you make.
Roofs can heat up but the 'cold roof' concept heavily relies on roof
ventulation. If there is no ventilation, then what ever heat gets
into your attic space, will build and build, and cause the snow to
Just might want your ventilation checked.
tom @ www.Consolidated-Loans.info
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