With all the snow the region has been receiving many have snow accumulation on their home or building roof. This snow accumulation is dangerous for two reasons. The weight of the snow on any flat part of the roof could cause collapse and the other reason is ice dams.
Ice dams form when the heat from the attic melts the snow on the roof, but then stops melting when it reaches the eaves where there is no heat underneath. Consequently, this forms a solid barrier of ice on the edge of the roof. When there is an ice dam the melting snow on the roof above the ice dam on the roof allows water to find its way under the shingles on the roof. Water under the shingles can leak into your house and cause water damage inside. This could lead to numerous other issues such as mold and property damage. Another issue with ice dams is the formation of large icicles. Some of the icicles can get enormous and be a danger if they fall on a person or property below.
To prevent ice dams make sure the floor of the attic is properly insulated. This prevents the heat from the house getting up to the attic. Also, it is important to stay diligent to rake the snow off of your roof so there is no accumulation of ice from the melting snow. The best type of rake is made of aluminum and has wheels on it so it doesn’t damage your roof shingles. If you have ice dams and want to get rid of them, it is not a good idea to break up the ice with a hammer or other hard object, as you could damage your roof.
A trick from This Old House to melt ice dams (not recommended on a regular basis, as it could damage gutters because the chemicals are corrosives): take a pair of old nylon pantyhose and cut the legs off, fill with calcium chloride ice melter. Place the nylons on the roof of the house so the toe part hangs over the edge of the roof. This channels the melting ice water off of the roof.
If you do have ice dams and the water backup has caused damage inside your house, most of this is covered under your homeowners policy after your deductible is met. However, if your roof has not been maintained over the years and the leak is from poor upkeep of your property, the loss may not be covered. Please call us with specific questions on a loss to see if it is covered. The best way to avoid a loss is preventative action to insulate properly and remove snow from your roof! www.mancuso-nowak.com