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What Is An Ice Dam And How Could It Cost You?

As anyone in a winter climate will tell you, it’s a beautiful season that comes with its share of complications for drivers, homeowners, and everyone in between. Along with the peaceful moments observing the season’s snowfall or the fun had skating at the rink, winter brings conditions that could potentially impact the wellbeing of your home. What are some of the winter hazards that you should keep an eye on, and how could taking proactive measure against them possibly affect your homeowners insurance rates? Learn more about ice dams, how to deal with them, and the long-term consequences below.

What is an Ice Dam?

When we think of dams, it’s usually in the context of regulating water levels using strategic blockages. However, one place that you don’t want to impede the flow of water is on your roof.

Imagine a typical winter blanket of snow on your roof. When your attic or uppermost floor is warmer than the air outside, this snow cover will melt and move downwards toward the eaves. If the air temperature is significantly colder here than in the warm spots, that water refreezes. This cycle is the one that gives rise to ice dams at the edge of your roof. Aptly named, these blockages trap standing water on your roof, which can lead to seepage inside your home.

As the University of Minnesota Extension explains, the water could flow into your walls, insulation, or through the ceiling, so it is important to address ice damns in the short term and long term to minimize damage.

Eliminate and Prevent Ice Dams

Not only do you want to respond to an ice dam in a timely manner, but you want to treat the symptoms so it never happens again. If you notice a developing situation on your roof, you can take matters into your own hands using a roof rake to remove the snow—exercising extreme caution given the season—or you can call a professional to come rectify it safely. It’s not recommended that you hack away at the ice yourself, in case you damage your shingles and make the problem worse. Too much weight on your eaves can cause your gutter to collapse, bringing more damage and an even bigger headache.

You don’t want ice dams to become your family’s holiday tradition. Get your insulation inspected by a professional so you can identify why your roof is heating unevenly and jumpstarting this cycle. Depending on the wear and tear on your roof or potential points of leakage, it might even be time to upgrade to stronger materials. Bonus: reinforcing your roofing materials can potentially earn you discounts on your homeowners insurance rates, according to the Insurance Information Institute.

Your home is your sanctuary, not to mention your shelter from the cold. Focus on making home improvements that keep the elements out, like adequate insulation and strong roofing materials. These measures might even help you keep your homeowners insurance rates down by reducing the risk that you’ll need to make a winter-related claim.

Learn more about competitive homeowners insurance rates through CoverHound today. When winter rolls around, you’ll be glad you’re well protected!

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