Given Massachusetts’ geographic location in the northeast US, it is well understood that winters are harsh in the state. This last winter was especially brutal in Massachusetts due to a polar vortex that kept temperatures in the state within the single digits during the latter half of the winter season. In addition to the prolonged bout of cold weather in the northeast, this last winter also saw copious amounts of snowfall in the region. Of course, snowfall is a typical aspect of winter in the northern US, and any resident of Massachusetts can attest to this.

During the winter season in the north, it is normal to see ice formations along the border of a house’s roof. These formations often take the form of icicles, which hang from a house’s eaves. These ice-formations are commonly called “ice dams,” as the ice lining a house’s gutters prevent melting snow on a roof from draining properly; instead, ice dams trap melting snow on a roof. This melting snow often leaks into a house, causing structural wood, insulation, drywall and ceilings to become saturated with water. Naturally, this creates high-moisture conditions within a house’s attic and uppermost floors. These moist conditions attract termites into a home once the insects emerge come springtime, and wet wood is even more appetizing to termites than dry wood. Also, the moist air that results from melting snow leaking into a home is often limited to attic space. Since most homeowners rarely have cause to venture into their attic space, termite damage can become quite advanced in these cases.

In order to prevent termite infestations during the spring season, homeowners need to prevent ice dams from forming along their home’s eaves. Doing this will allow melting snow to drain properly from a home’s gutters as opposed to becoming trapped by an ice barrier and leaking into a home. To prevent ice dams from forming, it is wise to clear your roof of snow shortly after snowfall, as snow quickly hardens into solid ice. A homeowner can also install snow and ice shields on his/her roof. Installing gutter guards is also effective, but gutters must be cleaned of all debris before installation.

Are you concerned that the current snow melt may make your attic a termite paradise?