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Ice damming - snow and ice damage to roof and water seepage

Guthrie Insurance

With unusually cold temperatures ice damming becomes a common occurrence on roofs. It is important that homeowners not to attempt to remove the ice dam themselves.

Ice damming occurs when snow on the roof begins to melt and freezes before it has a chance to run off. Usually, this is caused by warm air leaking from your house into your attic. The warm air heats the roof's surface and causes the snow to melt. As the water runs down your roof, it freezes near the roof's edge and an ice dam starts to form. This process repeats itself a few times and eventually creates a dam made of ice that prevents water from draining away. Inevitably, this water backs up under the shingles and into the home.

An ice dam prevention checklist includes:

- Insure that your attic is adequately insulated;
- From inside the home, seal any perforations in the ceiling;
- Ensure your soffit vents are not blocked by insulation;
- Take measures to draw more air into the attic through the gable and eave vents;
- Keep roof vents free of snow so cold air can circulate in your attic;
- If you are installing a new roof, have the contractor install roof felt or install heating cables as an interim measure; and
- If you suspect your home is susceptible to ice damming, consult an expert who can use diagnostic tools to identify problem areas providing opportunity to prevent damage from occurring.

If an ice dam occurs, consult an expert and under no circumstances should you climb out on your roof to inspect or attempt to remove the ice dam yourself. The next step is to take some photos and call your insurance broker and a local restoration contractor to inspect.

Another common risk is heavy snow buildup.

Heavy snow can not only damage your roof and surrounding areas of your home but with the drastic changes in weather, the snow can quickly melt making your home susceptible to flooding.

It is important that homeowners check their roofs and outside parameters of the home a couple of times a week to monitor the snow accumulation. If there is a buildup in a certain areas, contact a contractor for removal services. Make sure you are shoveling snow away from basement windows and entry ways to avoid water damage and water intrusion.

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