Tag Archives: winter

Preventing Ice Dams and Winter Roof Damage

Ice Dam

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.

Preparing For A Nor’easter

Fallen tree

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.

How To Prepare Your Vehicle For Winter

Utica National, one of our insurance providers, has provided us with some safety tips to share with you on how to prepare your vehicles for the winter. We hope you take these tips seriously and put them to use before the winter hits us. Your safety is our concern, especially when operating a motor vehicle. So please take the time to read the preparation steps below and get yourself ready for the hazardous roads that come with the cold weather.car tips

How To Prevent Ice Dams and Winter Roof Damage

Here at Petschauer Insurance we feel it is important to offer good information so you can minimize property damage that may occur due to the harsh, cold and snowy weather that is just around the corner.

Ice dams, although easily preventable, happen often in the winter, and can cause a lot of damage to the exterior and interior of your property.

Aicedam_largen 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 will 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 to 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

What you can do to prevent Ice Dams:

  • 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.

How to remove an Ice Dam:

  • Call a professional roof repairer! If done incorrectly, you may cause further damage to your roof.
  • Do NOT use rock salt to melt the ice as this will cause even more damage.
  • If you do choose to remove it yourself, make sure that you use calcium chloride to melt the ice.

Please be proactive and be prepared for the possibility of an ice dam forming on your roof. Preventing an Ice Dam from will give you peace of mind and time to enjoy the festive season with your friends and family.

Protecting Your Home for The Winter

house-54585_640All homeowners know that the winter brings severe weather and with it more wear and tear on their homes. In preparation for the coming winter months, what can you do ahead of time to protect your home?

  • Roofs take a beating in the winter, so this is a good time to make sure that shingles are secure, there are no missing roof parts, no bubbles, no missing tiles, holes, leaks, etc. Now is also a great time to get your roof inspected and make any necessary repairs to avoid the unwanted effects of high winds, heavy snows and pounding rainstorms. If you know there are any damage risks, attend to it now so that a small difficulty doesn’t turn into a disaster later on.
  • 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 and make sure that they are clear of leaves, tree branches and any other debris associated with the Fall season. Clogged downspouts often lead to freezing and ice damage later in the season.
  • Make sure that trees and branches are trimmed back and pruned so that any dead branches or tree overhangs don’t fall and damage your roof, chimney, skylights, windows and doors.
  • Make sure furnaces are cleaned and in good working order so that you don’t run the risk of being without heat on those bitter cold days that are sure to come.
  • Check carbon dioxide and smoke detectors, making sure that they are working properly and their batteries have been changed.
  • Check water pipes for any leaks. 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.
  • Chimneys need to be maintained and cleaned.
  • Make sure you clean out the lint filter in your dryer every time you use it to prevent build-up of lint which is certainly a fire hazard.
  • Check your electrical outlets, plugs and cords for any deficiencies such as wear and tear, overload, and fraying cords.

In short, maintenance is the key to preventing homeowner claims that may be caused by the elements or a lack of attention. If you are in doubt about how to protect your home, speak to your agent. “An ounce of prevention” is surely worth your time so we urge you to embrace this opportunity to safeguard your home.  Good luck and stay warm this winter!

Generator Safety Tips During A Power Outage

Winter storms season is here and power outages are very likely to occur.  Whether you are lucky enough to have a generator ready to power up during this time or you are thinking of purchasing one, this blog is for you. Travelers is one of the many trustworthy insurance companies we represent and we would like to share their valuable advice and safety tips with you right here:

Click Here For Travelers  Generator Safety Tips

Safe Driving Tips For The Winter

2202904_0e494293The severe winter weather is here, and we commuters sure know what that entails. We go through it every year, and it never seems to get any better. However, we all have what it takes to make winter driving safer for you and the drivers around you. We recommend that you not only prepare your car for the conditions, but also be aware of some safe winter driving tactics.

Below are some tips we recommend using before driving in hazardous weather.

Preparation before you get in your car:

  • Make sure your vehicle’s fluid levels are right – either check the manual or see your mechanic
  • Replace wipers if they are not fully cleaning off your windshield
  • Check that your tires are in good shape and well inflated
  • Keep your gas tank at least half full at all times- you don’t want your gas line to freeze.
  • Be sure you have an emergency kit, along with jumper cables, a first aid kit, flares, flashlights, a shovel and some sand.

While Driving:

  • Accelerate and decelerate slowly to gain traction and avoid skidding
  • Do not make quick turns
  • Give yourself an 8-10 second following distance behind vehicles so you have enough time and distance to stop
  • Keep the heel of your foot on the floor and use the ball of your foot to apply firm pressure when braking
  • Do not try to power up a hill, but do not stop going up a hill either

Even with these precautions, it is sometimes better to stay home during snow storms. Weather conditions can be unpredictable and so is the road, so keep yourself safe and wait it out before getting in your vehicle.

We here at Petschauer Insurance are concerned for everyone’s safety, so we urge you to please take these tips seriously. Prepare your vehicle and drive safe (or don’t drive at all)!

 

Source: AAA.com

Keep Your Buildings From Freezing During Winter Months

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.

frozen-ice-189996_640Steps 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

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