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Newsletter

4Nov. 2015

Preventing Those Damn Ice Dams

Image Source: This Old House


I love autumn in New England and plan to enjoy outdoor activities as long as possible. As your insurance agent and as a property owner though, I can tell you that we need to be preparing for winter now, if you have not already.

Remember those damn ice dams?

Well in addition to the personal inconvenience and damage they may have caused you last year, they have driven home insurance costs up. Though insurance companies are still renewing policies with ice dams, it is important to take precautions now as the companies do not look kindly on repeat ice dam claims.

The gold standard for addressing ice dams is to attack the source of the problem.

The problem is that heat escaping from your home’s interior warms your attic and roof, which melts the snow on your roof causing meltwater to pour down. The meltwater freezes at the edge of your roof which is unheated and much colder, and accumulates over time into an ice dam.

Attacking the source of the problem means adding insulation, installing roof and soffit vents, and sealing any areas where heat may leak into the attic whenever possible. The goal is to keep the roof cold. You can find a checklist of steps to prevent ice dams in this article by This Old House.

Depending on the age and configuration of your home, and your budget, it may be hard for you to do enough to keep your roof sufficiently cold to prevent ice dams. In this case, it may be helpful to have heat cables installed.

Heat cables (also called heat tape) melt small channels along the roof to give the meltwater and melted ice a path to run off the roof. They do not prevent ice dams. But they can reduce the risk of damage to your property.

Last winter was the worst one in 20 years. Let’s hope that this winter is milder, but be prepared to protect our homes and keep our insurance costs in check.

Please call your account manager if you have any questions about protecting your home from ice dam damage.

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