Steps to avoid the dreaded ice dam

We recently experienced some fairly nasty damage related to an ice dam which had made itself comfortable on our rooftop. For those of you who live in colder climates, I’d like to offer you a few suggestions and words of warning so you may be able to avoid a similar fate.

  • Insurance. Fortunately for us, ice dam related damage is covered under our insurance policy. Make sure yours does too. A simple call to your agent will clarify this.
  • Attic inspection. One of the main reasons ice dams occur is due to poor ventilation and insulation in your attic space. Essentially, you want to keep your attic similar in temperature to the outside. In the winter, its important that your attic is sealed up property so that it does not soak up  the heat in the living quarters below. You also need to make sure you have proper amount of insulation up there. Many insulators will offer free consultations to inspect your attic, so take advantage of this. If your attic isn’t properly insulated and needs to be sealed, you may be looking at $500-$1,000+ in work. Though it seems like a lot, it will be preventative care against any future water damage and headaches.
  • Clear the snow. Seems like a no-brainer, but try to keep the snow off your roof. This will virtually eliminate any chance of ice dams forming. Use caution however. If you are in an association, make sure you bring this to your board’s attention.
  • Document it. If you are do suffer water damage related to an ice dam, make sure you start documenting it immediately. This includes taking any pictures of damage and/or video. All of this will help you and your insurance company in the claim.

Have you recently experienced an ice dam? How have you handled it? Or, how are you taking precautions so that it doesn’t happen to you?

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