Do you get ice back up during our Mohawk Valley winters? The cause for this seasonal frustration is that the home’s heat escapes through the roof and melts the snow. Then the snow trickles down to the eaves and refreezes.
Ice dams build up and can fall and damage porches below. Or the snow gets underneath the shingles and melts, damaging your interior.
We checked with the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety for tips on how to prevent this annoying winter occurrence.
- The first thing you can do is make sure your gutters, drains, and downspouts are free of dirt, debris, and vegetation. That way the flow of water thru the drains won’t be restricted.
- One of the keys to preventing ice dams is a cold attic. We realize this can be tough if you have a playroom or office up there. But if it’s just for storage, see if you can remove heat sources so it remains as cold as possible.
- Insulate light fixtures in the ceilings below your unheated attic. These are usually in bedrooms and the upstairs bathroom.
- If there are vents from below in the attic, seal them up. Make sure you can’t see daylight through them. This will prevent the downstairs heat from getting into the attic.
- You can connect heating cables to drains to prevent buildup. Also place them on the roof and connect them to the drainage system to create a path for the melting ice to follow.
So the main thing that you can do help prevent ice dams is to keep the attic cold. Add insulation around places that the warm air below gets into the attic. Make sure vents are open and clear of snow to allow warm air to escape. Keep the roof cool by allowing air to circulate freely. And seal 24 inches from the exterior wall between the roof covering and the attic to prevent leakage.
What Does Your Homeowners Insurance Cover if there is Ice Damage?
As we said above, there are two things that typically happen with ice dams. One is that the snow gets underneath the shingles and melts. The water trickles into the house and damages ceilings, walls, and floors.
The other thing is that the ice builds up on the edge of the roof. Over time, it gets heavy enough to fall. That can cause significant damage to whatever is below. We’ve seen large ice blocks fall from the roof onto porches below, causing extensive damage. Or the ice falls onto a single story addition.
Most homeowners insurance policies cover these two fairly frequent wintertime claims. If you’re not sure about your policy give us a call. We’ll let you know if you have the kind of homeowners insurance that covers ice backup.
But also remember, that any loss to your home or contents is subject to your deductible.
For smaller claims to the interior walls, that may be an issue. But for the larger ice back up and falling ice, the damage can be severe and well over your homeowners insurance deductible.
If you live in the Utica area, your best bet is to take a look at the list of preventative measures above and do everything you can to make sure the ice and snow stays on the roof, not in your home or on a porch or room below.
Until next time,
Your SZW Team
SZW Insurance is your New Hartford area Trusted Choice™ independent insurance agent. Call us for a quote on insurance for your home, car, business, or life at 315.792.0000. Or request a quote here.