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Roof damage can occur suddenly–for example, if shingles are blown off in a storm–or a small leak can gradually grow larger. A leaky roof can affect the inside of your house as well as the foundation. It can also affect your family’s health by causing mold that can trigger allergic reactions and lead to breathing problems. Many homeowners are unaware of roof damage until they notice leaks inside the house, but there are often warning signs much earlier. Detecting problems quickly can minimize damage and repair bills.

Have Your Roof Inspected
Regularly inspecting your roof can help you identify problems before they get too serious. If you don’t feel comfortable inspecting your roof yourself, hire a professional roofer. The person conducting the inspection should pay particular attention to the flashing, since that is where most roof leaks occur, as well as missing or damaged shingles.

Check the Interior of Your House
Walk around the upper floor of your home and check the ceiling and walls for any signs of water damage. Moisture may cause brown, yellow or grey stains. You might also notice that the paint on the ceiling or walls is peeling or bubbling.

If your house has an attic, check to see if the rafters are damp. If they are, that could indicate that the roof needs repairs or that there is a ventilation problem. If the vents are blocked, that can lead to moisture damage. Removing any objects that are blocking the vents might be enough to solve the problem.

Make Sure Your Gutters Are Clean
If snow on the roof melts and then water runs down to the gutters and refreezes, it can form an ice dam. That can then cause water to seep beneath roof shingles and inside the house. Keeping your gutters clear can prevent this scenario. If you notice an ice dam, call a roofer to get rid of the ice and see if it caused damage to the roof.

Monitor Your Utility Bills
A damaged roof can allow warm air to escape from your home in the winter and cool air to escape in the summer. If you’ve noticed that your utility bills significantly rose recently for no apparent reason, your roof might be damaged.

Check for Signs of Problems
Roof damage isn’t always obvious, but you might be able to spot signs if you know what to look for. If you notice any of these issues, call a roofing company to schedule an inspection. A professional will be able to identify damage, understand its severity and make any necessary repairs. You should also check your roof yourself or have it inspected by a professional on a regular basis so problems can be identified and repaired before they get worse.