We hope that everyone has remained safe through this snow storm. Now that the snow has fallen, it’s time to think about the ice dams that are likely to form and follow. In an effort to help keep you informed of some of the best practices, allow us to share some helpful tips surrounding ice dam prevention and/or removal.
An ice dam forms when melting snow freezes at the edge of your roof line. If you do not remove the snow, you run the risk of the ice dam growing large enough to keep the water from draining off the roof. The water could then back up underneath the shingles and find its way to the interior. This can damage your roof, attic, and upper levels of your building.
How do you tell if you have an Ice Dam?
- Look for large icicles hanging from the gutters and sides of the roof, as this is a sign that water may be trapped on your roof
- Look for water stains in your attic ceiling or exterior walls
Steps you can take to prevent an Ice Dam:
- Remove snow from your roof after every heavy storm before it freezes by using a roof rake.
- Make sure that leaders and gutters are clear of leaves and debris so melted snow can drain properly
- Insulate your roof and attic.
- Seal up any holes in the roof that can cause water to seep through
- Make sure any vent pipes, exhaust fans, chimneys, attic fans, and light fixtures are properly insulated and sealed.
- Install a leak barrier underneath the shingles to act as an additional preventative measure, as it keeps water from seeping inside your building.
Tips for removing an Ice Dam:
- Call a roof professional. If this is done incorrectly, you may cause further damage to your roof.
- Do not use rock salt to melt the ice, as this could lead to even more damage.
- If you do choose to remove it yourself, you can use calcium chloride to melt the ice.
As the cold winter months continue, please be proactive and prepare for the possibility of an ice dam forming on your roof. Doing all you can to prevent an ice dam will alleviate your stress and bring you closer to a worry-free season. We hope you all remain safe.
In anticipation of the forthcoming Nor’easter, allow us to share some of these helpful tips as you prepare. Here are suggestions of what to keep an eye on before, during, and after the storm hits.
- Check skylights, vents and chimneys to make sure that no repairs are needed and everything is tight and secure from any water leakage.
- Check leaders and gutters to make sure that they are clear of leaves, tree branches and any other debris. Clogged downspouts often lead to freezing and ice damage later in the season.
- Check to be sure that trees and branches are trimmed back and pruned, so that dead branches or tree overhangs do not fall and damage your roof, chimney, skylights, windows and doors.
- Reach out to your neighbors to see that everyone remains safe and in good spirits through the storm. This is an opportunity to embrace the importance of community and lend a helping hand to those in need around you.
- Check to be sure furnaces are cleaned and in good working order, so that you do not run the risk of being without heat.
- Check carbon dioxide and smoke detectors, making sure that they are working properly and the batteries have been changed.
- Check water pipes for any leaks because a small leak can be managed by changing a pipe or repairing a portion of a pipe. If you have an automatic sprinkler system, be sure to contact your service company for a shut-off as well. A large leak can be a nightmare and do considerable damage to your home.
- Check your electrical outlets, plugs and cords for any deficiencies such as wear and tear, overload, and fraying cords.
- With power outages to be anticipated and the roads expected to be dangerous, shop for non-perishable foods before the storm hits. Refrigerated food will only stay safe for up to four hours after a power outage. Click here to see a guide of all specifics.
Maintenance is the key to preventing homeowner claims that may be caused by the elements. We urge you to embrace this opportunity to safeguard your home. We hope that you all stay safe through this storm and the rest of the winter season.
Homes, offices, apartments, warehouses, and all other personal or commercial buildings are not immune to damage during the winter. Winter weather inevitably brings freezing conditions and this can spell disaster. So therefore, it is necessary to put strategies in place to avoid such occurrences whenever and wherever possible.
Steps to take to avoid damage:
- Inspect for damaged water lines, air drafts, heating systems, and make repairs promptly.
- Keep the cold out by sealing areas with caulk, foam, insulation and use temperature monitoring devices to make sure that the measures implemented are actually working.
- Keep warmth in and keep water moving to avoid the freezing of pipes and possible breakage. Insulating pipes is always a good idea, especially in unheated areas.
- Be aware of water flow volume and make use of both “home” as well as “away” settings.
- Configure temperature settings with existing alarm system, some of which can be controlled with mobile applications.
Steps to take if there is damage:
Once there is a damage of any kind, it is necessary to mitigate the problem and to prevent further damage. Here are some suggestions regarding the type of action to take once something happens:
- Shut off the main water valve.
- Implement any sprinkler impairment program.
- In the case of a frozen line, remove any ice plug and administer heat.
- Be sure to implement any emergency response and a business continuity plan.
- Contact a water remediation contractor.
- Remove high value or water sensitive equipment and material.
- Be sure to take pictures and/or video of any damaged areas and/or equipment.
Remember the old adage from Ben Franklin – “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” – and save yourself the extra stress this winter.
Karen Skoler, CPCU