October 31, 2011 - As the seasons change, so do your insurance concerns. During the beautiful fall weather, it is time to prepare your home for the onslaught that winter brings in the Northeast. State Farm is encouraging homeowners to help prevent ice dams and other damage to your home by ensuring that gutters and downspouts are free of leaves and other debris.
An ice dam can occur when snow accumulates on a slanted roof of a building. Typically, ice dams occur in under-insulated homes. Heat from your home escapes through the ceiling into the attic and warms the underside of your roof. This warming actually melts the snow on the roof. This snowmelt flows down the roof, and then refreezes at the edges of the roof building up a “dam” of ice. Icicles, while pretty to look at are often a sign that you have an ice dam forming. Eventually, the snow melt is not able to get over the “dam” at the edge of your roof and the water instead finds a way to enter the inside of your home. Some homeowners have described the water coming through their ceiling or walls “it’s raining inside my house”.
When weather permits and it is safe to do so, homeowners should clear all gutters and unclog downspouts to allow snow melt to freely flow. Ice dams can cause serious damage and often occur with more frequency than frozen pipes due to the warming and cooling temperatures. The best time to clear debris from the roof, gutters and downspouts, is once the last leaves have dropped and before that first accumulating snow. Don’t wait until the snow accumulates, conditions are not safe at that time.
Homeowners should always exercise extreme caution whenever climbing onto roofs or hire a roofing professional. If you are going to climb onto your roof, do so only when it is safe and the weather is clear and dry. Always be aware of utility lines. Another preventative measure is to ensure there is adequate ventilation in the overhang areas of your home. Do not stuff additional insulation into those areas as that prevents the cooler air from flowing against your attic.
For additional information on other loss mitigation ideas, visit the State Farm Learning Center or contact your local State Farm agent. Regular home maintenance is not covered under a homeowner’s insurance policy.
Additional Resources: State Farm Learning Center.
Doug Griffith, Southpointe Operations Center, State Farm Insurance, (724) 743-4961
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