Ice damming has become a big issue during winter, leading to many claims. Some of these claims may not be included in your policy, so it is good to have an understanding of what damage can be caused, what your policy covers and measures you can take for prevention.
What is Ice Damming?
This is when snow on the roof melts, and then refreezes at the edge creating icicles and a dam. This dam blocks water from draining off. This is usually a result of a warm attic. The roof warms up, melts the snow, and refreezes at the edge where it is colder. This could cause the trapped water to work its way under the shingles. Poor insulation can also contribute to ice damming occurring.
This can create a number of problems. This can lead to roof damage, damage to your gutters and water leakage into your home (you would need water damage insurance). If ice breaks off, not only can it cause damage to the siding and shingles of your home, but it could also be a threat to people or vehicles due to falling ice.
Ice damming may be noticed by:
- Lifted shingles
- Peeling paint
- Icicles around the gutters
- Stains around windows and doors
Not all policies will include repairs from ice dams, so make sure you know what your policy covers. This means that if you don’t have coverage, any roof replacements, interior walls or other related problems would need to be paid out of pocket. We highly recommend you check with your insurer. They may suggest you upgrade with additional coverage depending what is outlined in your home insurance policy.
Some tips to prevent ice damming are:
- Ensure your attic is insulated properly as well as properly ventilated.
- Regular Maintenance: keep you roof in good condition, make any necessary repairs, regularly clean out gutters, remove debris…
- Installing de-icing/heat cable or using a roof rake will help remove snow from your roof which in turn will help prevent ice dams from forming. You want to make sure if you install a heat cable, that you run it inside the downspout so the downspout doesn’t get clogged with ice.
- Add roof and soffit vents.
- If you have to reroof, run a special ice dam prevention product (adhesive ice and water barrier), three to six feet up the roof.
What if I already have an ice dam, what do I do?
If you do have an ice dam, you want to get it removed as soon as possible. It is when it leaks or melts, when they do the most damage. You might want to hire a professional to remove the ice dams so you don’t need to worry about causing damage to your roof or shingles. A professional company will also have the proper equipment and experience needed for the removal.