What You Should Know About Ice Dams

The winter months can wreak havoc on your house. Cold, wind, snow, ice, salt, sleet, all of these elements are unkind to the place you call home. Once combined these elements become even worse for your home. The wintery mix that builds up on your roof can cause a great deal of damage to your home if they aren’t able to run off your roof. Ice dams on your roof can damage ceilings, insulation, and walls.


What’s an Ice Dam


An ice dam is a sheet of ice that covers the gutters on your roof. Ice dams form from melting snow moving from a warm portion of your roof to a cold portion, refreezing the melt off. They block the gutters, inhibiting more melting snow, sleet, and water on your roof from reaching your gutters. As snow, sleet, water, and anything else up on your roof build up the dam will get bigger and the runoff will look for somewhere else to go. This runoff can find its way into your home via your attic and walls. Ice dams can cause damage to your walls, ceilings, and insulation.


How to Prevent Ice Dams


If there is snow on your roof try to remove it before ice dams can form. By removing the snow you will bypass the immediate risk of ice dams forming. However, if ice dams have already formed and the effects are already happening the best mode of action is to make channels in the dams for the melt off to travel through. You can do this by spraying the dams with warm water, working from the bottom to the top. However, this method is not a long-term solution and should only be used if there is an immediate need. On a permanent base, make your ceilings airtight so that no warm moist air can travel up to the roof through the attic. By adding extra insulation to your attic you will also cut down on the amount of heat that is lost from your home. As a bonus, this will also cut down on your heating and air conditioning.


Is Damage from Ice Dams Covered by Insurance?


Thankfully damage caused by ice dams is usually covered by your home insurance. However, in most cases, the responsibility of removing ice dams falls on the homeowner. As in most cases, preventing the damage is better than having to clean it up. Your insurance may cover the damage but you will have to be the one that directly deals with the dams and the aftermath. The best course of action is to prevent the ice dams from forming in the first place.


Ice dams are just another thing that makes the winter months hard on your home. They don’t have to affect your home though. If you take the necessary precautions you can not only prevent ice dams from forming but save on your heat and air conditioning. However, we don’t always know we need to take precautions. If you find water running in your home from your roof, American Fire and Water Restoration is here to help. Give us a call, (847) 514-9305.

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