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Preventing Ice Dams

Don’t let winter get the best of you! MAPFRE wants to help you prepare and survive this season. By now you’re probably well aware of ice dams and all the trouble they can cause. But just in case you aren’t, we wanted to share some tips on ice dam preparation and prevention.

 

What is an Ice Dam?

 

  • Ice dams are ridges of ice that form at the edge of a roof and prevent melting snow from draining off your roof.
  • Water that backs up behind the dam can leak into your home and cause damage.
  • Walls, insulation and ceilings are at the greatest risk for damage

How to Prevent Ice Dams?

Proper insulation – Attic insulation should have an R value of 30.* Insulate around areas that may allow for heat to escape easily – lights, bathroom fans, sky lights, etc.

 

Proper ventilation – Allow heat to escape in other ways than the roof. Investigate gable vents, ridge vents and soffit venting.

 

Installation of Roof Leak Barrier – A rubberized film that gets installed under roof shingles to block water from leaking into vulnerable areas.

 

Keep all drains, downspouts and scuppers free of debris.

 

Maintain trees and plants that grow near your roof to prevent accumulation that may clog or slow roof drainage.

 

Get an energy audit done of your home to identify potential areas of concern.

* R value is how well the material used to insulate can function at keeping the heat where it
needs to be. The higher the value the better the insulating power.

What other factors contribute to ice damming?

What to do if you have an Ice Dam?

  • Remove the first three to four feet of snow from the roofline with a roof rake or soft bristled broom.
  • If the home is too tall to reach the roof then hire a roofing professional to clear the snow.
  • Contact your MAPFRE Insurance agent as soon as possible.
Warning: Be extremely careful while removing snow from your roof.
  • Make sure the ladder is secure.
  • Beware of falling snow and ice as you clear the roof.
  • Consult with a roofing professional when dealing with snow removal.

Sources:

https://bct.eco.umass.edu/publications/by-title/preventing-ice-dams/

http://www.gaf.com/Roofing/Residential/Products/Leak_Barriers

 

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