Ice Dams: What Are They and How to Protect Your Home from Them This Winter

protect your home from ice dams

We all love a sunny winter day – when the temperatures get above zero, and you start to remember that spring isn’t so far away! Unfortunately, the warmth, and the melting that accompanies it, can actually cause damage to your home if you aren’t prepared for it. Read on to learn about ice dams, what they are and how to keep your home safe this winter.

What Is an Ice Dam?

Ice dams are ice build ups along the eaves of your house. Ice dams most commonly form when temperatures fluctuate above and below freezing. When temperatures rise during the day, snow on your roof melts into your gutters. If this water is unable to drain properly, it pools and refreezes when the temperature drops at night.

Ice dams can also form when homes have poorly insulated attics. Heat escapes from the attic, which warms the roof and melts the snow. Once this melted snow hits the icy cold eaves, it freezes and creates an ice dam.

Why Are They Dangerous?

Ice dams can cause significant damage to many parts of your home. The ice has a tendency to creep its way into areas of your home it shouldn’t be, thereby loosening shingles and leaking into your home through the walls, ceiling and insulation. If the ice gets heavy enough, it can tear off your eaves, or even collapse your roof in extreme situations.

How to Protect Your Home from an Ice Dam

In order to make sure your home stays protected this winter, keep these tips in mind:

  • Sweep off the snow on your roof after a big snowfall. You can use a roof rake and do it yourself safely from the ground, or hire a professional to take care of it. Don’t go up on the roof yourself (safety first).
  • Ensure your attic is properly insulated to prevent heat from escaping your home. You will not only decrease your chance of having an ice dam form, but you’ll also save on your heating bill — double win!
  • Keep your gutters and downspouts free of snow and ice. This will ensure that when snow on your roof does melt, it has a place to drain properly.

Talk to Your Insurance Broker

Coverage exists for damage to your home from the weight of ice and snow; however, it’s not always included in a standard policy. Make sure to chat with your broker to see if you are covered from ice dam damage, just in case you need it one day! Capital Insurance offers competitive pricing and comprehensive coverage for your home — if you’re in the market for home insurance, give our team a call!