Thursday, October 31, 2013

Prevent Water Damage Caused By Winter Ice Dams

What is An Ice Dam?

In the winter a warm attic can melt snow on the roof causing water to run down and re-freeze at the edge of the roof where its colder.  If ice builds up it becomes an ‘ice dam’ that blocks water from draining, so the water is forced under the roof covering and into the attic or down inside the walls causing water damage.

How to prevent Ice Dams?

The best way to prevent ice dams is to maintain a cold roof.  Use sufficient insulation in the attic to keep the inside warm air from getting into the attic and warming the roof.  Also, maintain a cool, well –ventilated attic space that will not allow the roof to warm up.

Is there coverage ? 

To obtain coverage for this kind of leakage, not directly the result of damage to the roof by wind or the weight of snow, you would need an all-risks-not-excluded type of policy.  It is often referred to as an HO-3 or special form.

What to do if you get an ice dam?

First, take immediate steps to prevent further damage and contact our agency.  We will verify your coverage and give you instructions for preparing your claim.
Generally, you’ll be asked for repair estimates for structural damage and a list of items that will need repair or replacement.  Depending on the amount of damage, an appraiser from your insurance company may need to see the damage.  As with any insurance claim, keep all receipts.
Using a long handled snow puller, pull the snow from the roof, back just a few feet from the edge of the eaves before ice has a chance to form.  By simply removing the snow along the edge of the roof, you will give melting water a chance to drain from the eaves and prevent the formation of ice dams that  may damage your roof.
DO NOT GET ON THE ROOF TO REMOVE SNOW BUILDUP.   This is dangerous and you could easily damage the roofing material, resulting in leaks when it rains.

Please contact us, on the web or at one of our three locations, if you would like to know if you have this coverage on your existing homeowner policy - even if you are not a current customer we are happy to provide FREE insurance reviews.

This information is reliable and accurate, but we can not guarantee prevention or that the corrective measures will alleviate damages.  Always consult an experienced contractor or other expert to determine the best preventative and corrective action.


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