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Ice Damming - Causes and Prevention

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Prairie winters can take its toll, too many cold days can wear us down.  When we start to see a let up in temperatures it is a huge relief knowing that snow accumulating in our yard and roof will soon melt.

Beware, melting snow on your roof with fluctuating temperatures can create a condition called Ice Damming.  When roof ice builds up at the edge of your roof it will prevent melting snow from draining off the roof.  The result could mean the water will seep back into your home damaging insulation, drywall and electrical systems.  Eventually you could end up with damaged flooring, ruined carpets and cracks in your ceilings and walls.  And what’s worse is if left unchecked it can soak insulation and joists causing rot and mold in your home.  We all know mold and mildew can cause a host of respiratory illnesses and asthma. 

Our best advice is an ounce of prevention:

  • Keep the snow off your roof – at least the lower 3 feet area.  Purchase a snow rake or hire a Contractor to keep your roof and gutters clear.
  • Ensure that your attic is well insulated, less heat escaping means less chance of snow melting.
  • Seal up all leaks to prevent warm air from buildup and eventual escape through the roof.
  • Watch for accumulations, those lovely icicles hanging from your roof generally signal trouble.
  • Consider heat coils to keep temperatures uniform and ensure snow melts properly.
  • Talk to your CAA home insurance broker to ensure that you have the protection in the event you do experience damage.

Researchers say that Ice damming accounts for a large number of insurance claims and they are expensive, often requiring structural repairs that are inconvenient and costly for homeowners.

Ice damming is typically covered by your home insurance but not always.  Speak to your insurance broker to ensure that your current policy covers ice damming.

If you have any questions contact your CAA Home Insurance Consultant and they will be happy to assist you.  They can be reached at 1.800.564.6222.