Ice Dams – Concerns, Preventions and your Homeowners Insurance

As the COLD temperatures set in, homeowners in Massachusetts are once again at risk of property damage from ice dams.

An ice dam is the accumulation of ice at the lower edge of the roof, oftentimes at the gutter. Snow on the roof of your home will naturally melt from interior heat, this water then runs down and refreezes at the roof’s edge once exposed again to the cold air.  Through this process of melting and refreezing ice can build, blocking water from draining properly off the roof. This is the onset of an ice dam. The water is then forced under the roof covering and into the attic or down the inside walls of the house. Once these ice dams form the potential damage which can result can be costly. Ice dams can damage not only your roof and gutters, but trusses, and interior walls and ceilings as well.

Immediately we think of our homeowner’s insurance. Am I covered? If your home does encounter a problem this winter, you need to be certain that you are covered. A quick call to Guard Insurance Agency at 617-926-4000 will put you immediately in touch with one of our agents, who will be happy to review your home insurance policy, so that you are certain you are protected against the most common winter insurance claims. Most homeowner’s insurance doesn’t cover ice dam damage to flat-roofed residences, for example. And homes with recessed lighting near the roof line are at increased risk.

The first signs of an ice dam will be along the gutters of your home. Gutters become overloaded with ice and icicles forms. Icicles may look beautiful, but this will be your first indication of potential damage. The excess weight of the ice can pull the gutter away from the house, as well as bend or completely break the gutter. Once the water begins to build up behind the ice dam, it then backs up under the roof shingles, working its way through the underlying felt and around the roofing nails and eventually could work its way into your home.

Some preparations and preventions you can do to help protect your home against ice dams:

  • Clean out the gutters. Keep all drains, gutters and downspouts free of debris that could restrict proper water flow
  • Insulate any light fixtures in the ceiling below an unheated attic space. This will reduce the release of heat in your attic
  • Insulate the attic floor to minimize the amount of heat rising through the attic from your home
  • If there are any penetrations in the attic, seal and insulate them well so airflow is minimal
  • Heating cables can also be placed on the roof to create a path for the melting ice to follow

A well ventilated attic is key, the colder the attic, the less melting and refreezing on the roof.

Guard Insurance Agency is a Trusted Choice independent insurance agency, representing multiple companies to get you the best price, offer individual attention in order to qualify you for all the discounts available, and of course, provide excellent service, voted Best of 2012, BestofSurveys.com. 

Guard Insurance Agency is a Trusted Choice independent insurance agency, representing multiple companies to get you the best price, offer individual attention in order to qualify you for all the discounts available, and of course, provide excellent service, voted Best of 2013, BestofSurveys.
Please be advised that insurance coverage cannot be bound or changed via submission of this online form/application, e-mail, voice mail or facsimile. No binder, insurance policy, change, addition, and/or deletion to insurance coverage goes into effect unless and until confirmed directly with a licensed agent.

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