How To Prevent Ice Dams on Your Roof

Icicles may be beautiful to look at but they can be quite a costly issue for homeowners including loose shingles, gutter damage, and cause water to back up into your home. Snow and icy weather can lead to ice dams, which are thick ridges of ice that can build up along the eaves of your home and bring nothing but trouble. Let’s review how to prevent ice dams from happening and a few ways to get rid of them. 

How To Prevent Ice Dams

An ice dam is the result of a heated building (such as your home) melting snow and then the water runoff settling into the eaves of your roof and freezing there. Ice dams spell trouble because they can melt, resulting in water leaking through your walls and ceiling, damaging your roof and potentially the inside of your home. Ice dams can be a pain to remove, so it’s best to try and prevent them from happening in the first place. 

Stopping ice dams from starting can be simple in theory, just keep the roof the same temperature as the eaves. 

  1. Seal any points where warm air leaks from the living spaces into the spaces directly below the roof sheathing. 
  2. Vent the space between the insulation and the roof sheathing so any heat that does escape is carried away and not just sitting there. 
  3. Insulate your living space enough to prevent heat from escaping through the ceiling. 

This Old House has an excellent and detailed article on how to prevent ice dams from happening. 

If you’re unable to take on any home improvement projects, scraping the snow off the roof whenever it falls can help keep ice dams from forming. But it’s important to be careful because depending on how much snow has fallen, you can get buried in snow or even fall off the roof. If you have doubts about your safety, it’s best to call a licensed professional to get the job done. 

If you do have an ice dam, here’s how to deal with one: 

  1. Remove the ice dam by breaking it into small chunks. Be sure to use a blunt mallet and not a sharp object like an ax to avoid cutting or damage your roof’s shingles. It’s hard and tedious work, so do hire a professional if needed. 
  2. Clear out any gutters and downspouts but be careful to not damage any gutters or spouts with your ladder. 
  3. Use calcium chloride as an ice melter, never rock salt! Rock salt can damage paint, metals, and plants wherever the salty water drains. 

Are Ice Dams Covered by Home Insurance?

Your standard homeowners insurance policy will cover ice-related damage with about 1 in 50 homes filing a claim relating to water damage or freezing every year. Your dwelling coverage will cover any water damages to your home caused by an ice dam, but your policy won’t pay for services to remove one. And even if you do suffer a loss, policy terms and limits will apply, so it’s best to talk to your insurance agent about what coverages you do and don’t have from ice dams. Any personal items damaged as a result of an ice dam, will likely not be covered under your home insurance policy. 

It’s important to stop any problems from happening in the first place, which is why routine home maintenance in the colder months is key to keeping any winter-related claims at bay. Be sure to assess your home insurance policy to ensure you’re covered from any ice-related damages and talk to your insurance agent about what coverages you do and don’t have. The last thing you want is when springtime weather comes around and you find yourself with water damage and no coverage. 

TGS Insurance can help you assess your current home insurance needs and provide you with a home insurance policy that is curated specifically to your coverage specifications. Just visit our website for your hassle-free quote in 15 seconds or less using just your address! 

About Katie Rosario

Katie has been in the marketing industry for over 10 years and has a strong passion for writing great content. She has been writing for TGS Insurance for three years and strives to make every piece of content she works on informative and easy to read. In her spare time, she enjoys baking and spending time with her family.