Ice Dams: What are they and How do you Prevent Them

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Ice Dams: What are they and How do you Prevent Them

The absolutely best way to prevent an ice dam from occurring begins now in the fall, before a snowy winter begins. The best thing you can do is to make sure your roof is properly ventilated and that there are no heat sources in the attic itself.  Attic warming from poor ventilation is made worse with the introduction of heat from the occupied floor below the attic including sources such as lighting, air leaks, and ductwork.  Make sure you eliminate sources of heat, such as:

  • Uninsulated recessed ceiling can lights installed in the floor below
  • Poor attic floor insulation
  • Uninsulated folding attic stair openings
  • Heating ducts
  • Furnace or water heating equipment in the attic
  • Bathroom vent fans that improperly vent to the attic

Ice Dam Damage

If this situation continues, the ice can work its way back up the roof edge, get under shingles, melt and leak into the exterior wall, home or attic. Damage from ice dams may not be readily apparent. As the ice melts and possibly drips into the wall or attic, insulation can be become wet and lose its ability to perform properly. In some cases if the right temperature and humidity exist, mold may begin to grow in the attic. Often paint will peel or blister weeks or months after the ice dam has melted as moisture from the leaks in the wall or ceiling cavities tries to leave and pushes outward.

Louisville, Kentucky often has a snowy and icy winter. The most effective time to battle and win the war against ice dams is before winter. Here are some recommendations on how to beat ice dams before they happen:

  • Keep gutters clean
  • Eliminate or reduce direct sources of heat in the attic
  • Increase attic floor insulation
  • Properly ventilate roof, attic, and eaves

Your Homeowners Insurance

Most of today’s insurance policies are written on an “all perils” basis, which means you have coverage for any type of loss that is not specifically excluded from the policy. Ice dams are typically not excluded.

Is it possible that your insurance company will deny your claim based on water damage exclusions? Water damage exclusions typically refer to water that comes from plumbing, appliances, HVAC units, swimming pools, and ground-level sources. Water that leaks through the roof is more likely to be covered (unless your policy, again, specifically excludes it).

Call Us Today

The knowledgeable and experience agents at the Foundation Insurance Group office in St. Matthews, Kentucky, are happy to review your homeowners policy and make sure you don’t have any exposures. Call us today if you’d like a free review or need a quote.

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