Ice dams. They cause enormous damage to Sioux City area roofs. They’re responsible for more than a few insurance claims here as well.

That’s right: you can file a claim for ice dam damage. A standard Midwestern homeowners policy typically provides coverage for ice-related damages: hail, sleet, snow, and, naturally, ice. Basically, if water comes from the sky or plumbing, it’s normally covered by homeowners insurance. If water comes via land, it’s only covered by additional flood insurance.

But you wouldn’t like to let ice dam damage progress to a point where you need to file an actual claim in order to fix it. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, so we’re going to tell you what you can do to avoid ice dam claims!


Insulate and Ventilate

For context, let’s briefly review how an ice dam forms. When part of a roof’s surface is above freezing – and the section below it isn’t – a large ridge of ice can solidify between them. It’s easy to envision how. Snow that lands on the upper section of the roof melts, runs down to the freezing section of the roof, and ultimately nally freezes and sticks there. 

True to its name, an ice dam prevents liquid water from running off the roof. That creates huge problems if the water seeps through the shingles and decking. It can eventually saturate the underlying walls and frame – weakening them, and infesting them with black mold.

Making sure your attic is sufficiently insulated and ventilated is one of the best ways to prevent ice dams. Sufficient insulation will prevent any part of your roof’s surface from becoming warmer than 32 °F, not to mention save you money on heating bills. And by allowing excess attic heat to escape outdoors, vents do even more to promote a cooler, ice-free roof.


Clean Gutters

Your home’s gutters serve many important purposes. They allow rainwater and meltwater to flow freely off your roof, thus extending shingle lifespan. They channel water a safe distance away from your home’s foundation where it can’t flood your basement (another common reason for insurance claims). And by allowing water to run freely off your roof, gutters also help prevent ice dams.

It’s recommended that you clean your gutters twice annually: spring and fall. Removing leaves, pine needles and other tree debris is essential to maintaining your gutter system’s functionality, and will also appreciably lengthen its lifespan. Gutter guards don’t eliminate the need for seasonal cleaning, but they do make the chore go a lot faster and also prevent blockages and pest nests from taking form.


Rake Roof

Ice dams form as a result of snow melting. Remove the snow: remove the source.

Raking your roof after each snowfall won’t just help your attic stay dry. It also greatly reduces your risk of a wintertime roof cave-in. Wet snow weighs 20 pounds per cubic foot, which is why large accumulations can easily buckle even a well-made roof’s beams and rafters. And although it’s unlikely, a sudden roof avalanche can be powerful enough to cause serious injury – and in extreme cases, even death.


Don’t Let Ice Dams Get You Down

Precaution is always good, but it can only take you so far. If you live in Iowa and want to protect your home against all the weather-related threats it’s up against, then you need a good home insurance policy. Contact The Hoffman Agency today for the one that best suits your budget and needs!