This morning brought a chilly 35 degrees here in Silicon Valley. Rain was threatened and kids everywhere across Santa Clara County have been hoping that the snow will come low enough to play in easily today.

The nippier-than-usual weather brings not just hope of very unusual snow, but also a chance to learn something about your home (or your future home, if you’re in escrow to buy a San Jose area home).

My Los Gatos street is like a lot of other residential areas in Almaden Valley, Cambrian Park, Campbell, and Willow Glen – homes are clustered together and closed up tightly against the cold. Look at the rooftops. What do you see on an icy morning?



Frost graces all three of the roofs above. But how much of the roof has the white blanket? In this case, more is better.  The homes where there’s little or no frost are essentially “defrosting” their roofs with escaping heat. Homes that hold in the heat better do not have warm roofs and thus have a good amount of frost on top.

Of course, places where air or gas is meant to escape, such as at the vent pipes, are going to warm up the area immediately around them.  If there are just patches of melted ice with no such pipes nearby, perhaps your insulation has been disturbed and it’s worth a visit to the attic.

Buying a home? Drive by early on these cold winter mornings to see how frosty the roof is.  Selling a home? Make sure your insulation is good – it is a selling point that cost-conscious homebuyers will appreciate!

So if you want to go green, have a look at your roof on an icy morning and see if your heat is staying in the house or defrosting your roof.





  • Mary Pope-Handy

    Silicon Valley Realtor, selling homes in Los Gatos, Saratoga, San Jose, Silicon Valley, and nearby since 1993. Prolific blogger with a network of sites.