The winter months may be waning but the potential for claims resulting from ice dams are on the rise! While most of the damage caused by a winter storm is immediate, ice dams losses usually don’t occur until several days after.

Just what is an ice dam? As the heat from inside your house rises and melts the snow on your roof, the water will flow down the slope until it reaches a portion of your roof where the temperature is freezing. The water will refreeze and a ridge of ice will form.

Water collects behind the ice dam until it finds openings in your roof where it can flow into the attic space and eventually into the interior of your house. The damage from an ice dam can be extensive as the water leaks in and ruins insulation, walls, ceilings, and more.

The most common time for ice dams is after heavy snowfall followed by colder weather. Here’s some tips on what you can do to prevent them:

Keep it cool. Contrary to what you may think, you don’t want to heat the roof of your home. By keeping the roof or attic of your home cold you will decrease the amount of melting snow and it will dissipate without large amounts of melt-water.

Insulate. Insulate your attic floor and install water and ice shield under your shingles at the edges of your roof, in valleys and around vents, chimneys and skylights. Heating coils can also be installed at the roof’s edge to keep the melting snow from re-freezing.

Ventilate. Make sure your attic is properly ventilated to maintain a uniform roof temperature, and seal ceilings to prevent heat from leaking from the house into the attic.

If an ice dam forms on your roof, you should consider having a licensed and insured professional remove it. It’s very easy to damage a roof while removing snow and ice dams.

No one can prevent all losses, but it is important to take the necessary steps to try and minimize a potential loss and to mitigate any losses to prevent further damages. When an ice dam is suspected, contact your independent agent as soon as possible to report the claim.

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