Homeowner Insurance and Ice Dams !!

January 15, 2013

Probably the last thing anyone is thinking about after the mild temperatures the last few days. The weather forecast is calling for snow and extended winter temperatures. One thing living in New England, the weather is always changing.

If you live in New England, you know the winter season creates challenges for homeowners. Ice Dams tend to be the leading cause of homeowner claims.

Ice Dams

An ice dam refers to ice that has formed along a roof’s edge. The ice dam blocks additional water from draining off of the roof and thus pools water back up which then finds its way into your home’s interior.
Once the water enters the home it may cause deterioration and decay to interior wood and plaster, drywall or other insulation materials. Once an ice dam has forced paths into a home, the roof becomes more suspectible to future ice dams and water damage.

What causes an ice dam? Too much heat rising from the home to warm the snow on the roof is the most frequent cause of ice dams. The process occurs unevenly with the warmer area at the higher part of the roof melting snow and then the cooler, lower area particularly the roof edge, permitting the water to refreeze and then accumalate. Inadequate insulation lets too much heat escape into the attic and creates a warmer roof.

A couple of signs that you may have ice dams forming. Icicles, they are great for kids to play with, pretty to look at but heavy icicle buildup means that the interior heat is melting a lot of snow and may lead to ice dams.

How to Prevent Ice Dams

There are a number of ways to help prevent ice dams:
1. Clear excess snow from the roof. We would recommend hiring a professional to help minimizing
damage to the roof.
2. Inspect the attic and roof for cracks, holes, or joints that permit warm air to escape to the roof.
Seal and repair these areas.
3. Check the insulation in the attic and add the recommended amounts to help minimize escaping heat.
4. Reduce your home’s thermostat. Throw on a sweatshirt and reduce the heat during extended cold
spells thus reducing the amount of melting of snow on the roof.
5. Clear your gutters and downspouts so that water is properly shedding off of your roof.

As always, Kerrigan O’Malley & Bailey Insurance is here to help with any questions, claims or problems you may have with regards to your MA Homeowners insurance.