Ice dam formation is a common phenomenon in many homes in America. It can be challenging to prevent but taking the time and money to address this problem before it shows its ugly head is much easier than trying to fix it once they form. When you know how much damage ice dams cause homeowners, it’ll be easy to see why it is so vital to ensure they don’t develop in the first place.
Water leaking into the home can be costly, and insurance companies have noted that this issue has shown a significant increase in recent years from 14.58% of all claims in 2005 to 23.71% in 2009 (a 62% increase over five years). The numbers are much worse today!
In homes where ice dams are a phenomenon, the average water damage and freezing claim cost homeowners over $3000. The best way to prevent ice dams from forming is by taking some simple steps: ensure sloping shingles on your roof; use a de-icer before it becomes cold enough for snow or ice to form; make sure gutters don’t overflow, and many more.
What Is An Ice Dam And Why Does It Happen
An ice dam is a natural phenomenon that occurs when snow and ice accumulate on the roof of a house. The weight of the snow forces it to melt, which then re-freezes near the roof edge, creating an impenetrable barrier. This creates an insulated pocket where the heat from inside can’t escape, causing water to seep into your home. If you’ve ever had to remove this type of ice dam from your own home, you know how time-consuming and backbreaking it can be – not to mention costly if there’s any structural damage done by water leaking in!
Signs That You Have An Ice Dam On Your Roof
Ice dams are most common when temperatures fluctuate between 30 and 40 degrees. If you notice that there is ice accumulated on your gutters, roofing, or underneath the shingles, an ice dam has likely formed. Some other ways to know that you have an ice dam in your roof include:
– Water leaking into the home from either inside or outside of it. This leakage of water can cause a lot of damage, not only to the house itself but also to its contents. For example, peeling paints, rotting wood, and mold can all result from a water leak.
– The sound or feeling of moving ice in your roof when you are inside it.
-There is also a chance that an ice dam has formed if there is any unusual noise coming from the outside or underneath the house while walking around on top of it.
-Wet insulation and a wet or frozen roof surface
-Drywall that is sagging or water marks along the ceilings below it.
-When you notice that some areas on your roof are wet while others aren’t, this is a sign of an ice dam forming and may need to be addressed immediately.
If you’ve noticed any of these signs on your property, call a reputable home insulation contractor like A1 Home Insulation.
The Cost Of Water Damage Caused By A Leaking Roof Or Ice Dams Forming
Ice dams are a costly problem. The Insurance Information Institute (IIS) estimates that the average homeowner’s claim for water damage and freezing is way over $3,000. Worse still, this seems to be a growing problem. IIS also reports that claims resulting from water damage and freezing have increased significantly in recent years, from 14.6% of all claims in 2005 to 23.7% in 2009—a 62% increase over five years!
And that’s data from more than ten years ago. Recent data shows it’s much worse now.
Common Mistakes Homeowners Make That Lead To Ice Dam Formation
Below are some common mistakes homeowners make that lead to
ice dams forming:
– Improperly maintaining gutters and downspouts, so they get clogged with leaves, snow, ice, or other debris
– Not shoveling the roof to remove snow from it before it melts (or at all)
– Using a high heat setting on your furnace that quickly melts accumulated snow and ice
– Using a humidifier, which can lead to condensation and damage
– Not venting bathrooms or kitchens properly so that moist air inside the home is released into the rest of the house
A List Of The Common Home Damage Noticed When Ice Dams Form
The list of potential types of home damage is long. Here are some of them.
– Water leak in the ceiling or walls: If there’s an ice dam, the water from it will likely form a pool on your roof that can leak into your ceilings and interior and exterior walls. This could be due to overflowing gutters, faulty plumbing pipes, or cracks in the foundation resulting from the expansion and contraction of the ice.
– Water in your basement: If you have an ice dam, it’s possible that water from the roof can leak into your basement through cracks or seams around plumbing pipes. This will cause a wet floor in areas such as furnace rooms, storage closets, utility rooms, bathrooms, laundry rooms, and offices.
– Mold and mildew: Condensation or water that gathers in a basement (or other places in your home) could cause mold and mildew to grow, which can lead to serious illness if inhaled. If there is an ice dam on the roof, this scenario is more likely than usual. In addition, if left untreated long enough, this water will also lead to mold growth within your walls and between floorboards.
– Increased energy costs: The increased cost of heating your home might be the most expensive ice dam-related problem you face. Water leaking into your basement can cause an increase in energy bills and a resulting higher cost of living, not to mention an increased risk of fire (e.g., electrical fires).
– Sewer backup: In many instances, water from flooding basements will eventually seep back up through drains or cracks in floors and collect in the lower levels of your home, which can cause a sewage backup.
– Increased insurance premiums: If you have to deal with any ice dam problems in the future, it could raise your homeowners’ insurance premium.
– Corrosion damage: The corrosive effects that water has when flowing into a home can cause structural damage to the building materials.
Prevention is key: The best way to prevent ice dams from occurring in your basement or crawl space is by maintaining a constant temperature year-round inside.
How To Prevent Ice Dams From Happening In Your Home
Ice dams are more than just an aesthetic problem: they can result in costly water damage if left unchecked. By following these simple guidelines, you may be able to prevent a hefty repair bill or, worse, having your home flooded by melting ice!
Here are some more ways to prevent ice dams from forming.
-Roof flashing should be insulated to prevent heat loss that can lead to melted ice.
-Make sure gutters are cleared of snow and debris, so the water has a place where it isn’t likely to be frozen—and then make sure they’re cleaned out in the springtime, too.
-Seal all doors and windows with silicone or caulking. Ideally, these should be done before winter so they can have time to dry.
-Insulate areas of the house that are most prone to heat loss, like crawlspaces and attics. Crawlspace and attic insulation are essential.
-Inspect insulation during springtime for any leaks or gaps in coverage that need repair or replacement.
-Improve indoor air quality with ventilation fans by opening windows and turning them on when possible.
– Consider installing an interior vapor barrier.
-Increase the temperature of your home by about five degrees Fahrenheit, which will help prevent ice dams and other water damage problems.
– Installing snow guards around soffit vents near the roof for efficient ventilation (prevents moisture from accumulating on the roof or destroying exterior plywood sheathing). You can also install a dehumidifier in your basement to prevent water from accumulating there.
-Finally, if you do experience an ice dam during the winter months due to snow melting and refreezing and have to call for repair or removal services, be sure they’re professionals. Ask questions and find out how much the service will cost and what they’ll do to prevent future problems, too.
Steps To Take If You Have Water Coming Into The House Due To An Ice Dam Or Leaky Roof
Check for signs that ice is forming on the roof, such as an icicle or a ridge of snow. If you see one of these, it’s likely there is water leaking into your home.
Look at where leaks are coming in and identify the source by following rainfall patterns over time and weather.
Call a roofer, plumber, or home insulation contractor to come and identify the source of water leakage, make needed repairs and remove an existing ice dam if it is blocking your gutters.
If you have a leaky roof that needs repair, contact an insurance agent for information on coverage from water damage and freezing claims. You may be able to take advantage of a rider on your current homeowner’s insurance policy.
Tips For Preventing Ice Dams and Leaks In The Future
Here are some tips for preventing leaks in the future – such as getting a professional inspection done, installing gutters, etc.
– A home inspector will offer expert advice on ways to prevent ice dams from forming and provide a written report listing any findings that may cause problems later.
– Gutter systems are also an essential part of ice dam prevention. They lessen the chances of water pooling near the edge of a roof.
– Properly sized gutters will also help to ensure that rainwater flows away from the home and not in front or up against it, which can lead to ice dams.
– Homeowners should also keep an eye on roof shingles or roof sheathing for signs of wear before replacing them, as this can help prevent leaks. It will also be helpful to repair dislodged roof shingles.
– Lastly, attic insulation is an essential step in prevention for the attic area and around the pipes of your home’s exterior foundation. Also, consider roof insulation together with insulating your attic.
Call Us Today
If you are unsure whether your home is at risk for ice dams, the best way to know is to contact a professional. Our certified technicians will be able to inspect your roof and provide expert advice on how much preventative care it needs before winter sets in.
We also carry out ice dam removal services and have professionals that will take care of all that ice and water damage.
Finally, we offer free estimates. So, call us today at (516) 591-3974!