What is an ice dam?

Over the last couple of weeks, middle Tennessee and much of the country have been affected by brutal snow and ice storms. However, unlike much of the country, we southerners are often not used to and un-prepared for severe winter weather. From that first round of storms, we have seen several claims for what are known as ice dams. As potential storms approach us again, we thought that we could help you understand and prevent a potential loss.

HOW DOES AN ICE DAM FORM?

An ice damn occurs when water or snow accumulates at the base of a roof then freezes. The dam continues to grow as snow and water from the top of the roof melt and slope to the bottom of the roof and refreeze. As the freezing grows back against the roof, it allows water to back up underneath the shingles and then find its way into your home.

HOW CAN YOU PREVENT AN ICE DAM?

Travelers Insurance recommends the following steps to prevent damage from an ice dam.

  1. Remove ice and snow from your roof after each storm
  2. Clear down spouts. Down spouts are often the last place on your roof to thaw, thus creating pools of standing water on your roof.
  3. Insulate your attic. This can prevent a melting/ refreezing cycle caused when warmer parts of your home cause melting.
  4. Install a water repellent membrane underneath the shingles the next time you replace your roof.

HOW CAN YOU REMOVE AN ICE DAM?

If you can safely access your roof, one way to melt the ice is to place calcium chloride ice melt in a nylon stocking and place it across the dam. Travelers reminds us not to use rock salt because it can damage roofs and plants below.

To learn more about ice dams, feel free to check out information from Travelers Insurance at https://www.travelers.com/prepare-prevent/mother-nature/winter-storm-safety/ice-dam-removal.shtm