January 18, 2023

How do ice dams form?

Ice dams form when melting snow from the warmer part of your roof runs down to the eave area where the roof is usually colder. At the edge of the home, the runoff re-freezes and builds up along the roof edge or into the gutter. We’ve all see those huge ice icicles hanging from roof tops. As it pushes back up the roof, an ice dam is formed. The dam forces melting snow water into the home under the shingles where it damages walls and insulation.

How do I know if I have any ice dams?

So, how can you spot ice dams? Evidence of excessive snow and icicles on the edge of your roof may be a sign of ice dams, a buildup of snow and ice along your eaves that blocks water runoff. Discolored ceilings or walls may indicate that your ice dam has turned into a leak.

If a roof leaks from a winter storm, does that mean the roof has to be damaged?

Although ice dams cause the water from melted snow to back up under the shingles of your roof and into your home, this does not necessarily mean the roof has been damaged. If there is a concern that the roof is damaged, it will need to be inspected as part of the claim process to determine if any damages exist. This usually can only occur when the snow/ice have completely melted from the roof and that usually means spring time.

What are tips to safely remove snow from a roof?

Only if you can safely do so, remove accumulated snow from your roof using a long-handled roof rake, a specialized tool for clearing roofs that won’t damage your roofing material. Do this from the ground. Never climb on top of a snowy roof.

If you are unable to remove the ice dam with a roof rake, do not attempt to do so with a shovel, axe, blowtorch or snow blower. Consider calling a professional to get it taken care of.

What are tips to prevent an ice dam?

There are many things you can do to help lessen the likelihood of an ice dam. These include:

  • Make sure your gutters are clear of leaves and debris.
  • Keep snow from accumulating on the lower three to six feet of your roof.
  • Keep your attic cool. Proper insulation between your living areas and attic will help keep warm air from escaping into your attic and warming the roof.
  • Install snow and ice slides to prevent ice and snow from “bonding” to the lower roof.
  • Install heating cable along the eaves to melt ice.
  • Proper ventilation, drainage and insulation are the only ways to prevent ice dams.

To find out if your home or building is covered from damage from an ice dam or if your insurance policy covers removing snow from your roof call your insurance agent.  Every policy is different and it is always better to find out before something happens than after.

For more information, please call us at 440-243-5555  King Insurance & Financial Services, LLC. We’re here to help.