One of the most damaging things that can happen to your home during a winter storm is the formation of ice dams. Your New Bedford insurance agent wants to make sure that you understand the importance of taking preventive measures when it comes to this frequent problem. Before the winter season hits, take time to go over your MA homeowners insurance policy with Borden Insurance Agency in New Bedford, your local homeowners insurance provider. Make sure that you understand your insurance coverage and your obligations to prevent seasonal damage. It is a good idea to also update your policy on an annual basis to make sure that you have all of the coverage you need for everything in your home.
What is an Ice Dam?
If you are new homeowner or this is your first winter in Southeastern Massachusetts, you might not be familiar with the phenomenon known as the ice dam. An ice dam is formed when there is melting snow and ice on your roof that freezes again just above the eaves. The ice thickens and then future meltings from the roof can cause a back-up of water underneath your roof’s shingles. The result is a series of damaging leaks to the roof and interior ceilings and walls that can cost hundreds or thousands of dollars to repair.
The best defense for ice dams is to have a good offense. By following a few simple seasonal maintenance steps, you can prevent ice dams from ever occurring in the first place. Some of these tasks are quite simple, others are more intensive and complex. In some cases you might need to do some minor repair, remodeling or retrofitting to your home in order to fix the issues that could potentially lead to the formation of ice dams. If you aren’t proficient at home repair or aren’t confident in your abilities, consider hiring a professional to help you prepare your home for the snow and ice of winter.
Top Tips for Ice Dam Prevention
When it comes to preventing ice dams from forming there are three primary areas that need to be addressed: ventilation, drainage and insulation. If you have issues in any of these areas, you could end up having to deal with ice dams. Check with your provider of home insurance in New Bedford for information on reputable vendors in the area who can help you take care of these problem areas. In most cases, your MA homeowners insurance won’t protect you from damage caused by ice dams, as they are completely preventable. With proper care and maintenance of your home, you will be able to get through the entire season without having to contact your New Bedford insurance agent to make a weather-related claim.
Some of the things you can do to prevent ice dams from forming include:
- clearing out leaves and debris from gutters throughout the fall and before the first snow
- have your roof and attic inspected to check insulation and ventilation
- get a home energy audit to check for air leaks, especially from the house to the attic
- seal all places where warm air could leak into the attic, including chimneys, attic hatches, light fixtures, exhaust fans and vent pipes
- look for common signs of ventilation issues, including rusty nails, rust spots or mildew smells inside the attic and up on the roof
- check to ensure that soffit vents are not blocked and that insulation is secured
- prevent snow from accumulating on your roof, particularly the lower six feet, by raking or shoveling the snow to physically remove it. Be careful not to harshly scrape or damage the shingles.
You can also install products known as “ice slides” or “snow slides,” which are used to prevent the snow from sticking to the lower edge of the roof. Specialized heating cables can also be installed along the eaves to help melt the ice. Work with a roofing and insulation expert or contact your MA homeowners insurance provider to learn about more methods that can be used to prevent ice dams from forming to protect your home from damage.
If You Do Get an Ice Dam…
If the unthinkable happens and you do get an ice dam that forms, contact a roofing professional right away. Do not try to remove it yourself. You can imagine the accidents and damage that your local New Bedford insurance agent has heard of from homeowners who have tried to chip away, break or even melt ice dams using all sorts of dangerous tools. Your best bet is to contact an ice dam removal company that is licensed and insured to do this type of work in Southeastern Massachusetts. Contact your New Bedford homeowners insurance agency if you have any questions at all about how to deal with an ice dam and your obligations to report any damage that occurs.
Get a FREE QUOTE on Home Insurance in New Bedford
If you are interested in learning more about MA homeowners insurance or want to check on the coverage in your policy, contact local agent, Borden Insurance Agency in New Bedford. We have been providing top quality home and auto insurance policies to residents in the local area for over 100 years. Give us a call at 508-999-3636.