Help with Ice Dams

What is an Ice Dam?

If you have icicles hanging from your roof, you probably have an ice dam building.  An ice dam is a ridge of ice that builds at the edge of a roof which prevents melting snow from draining off the roof. The melting snow above feeds the dam below. The drainng water backs up behind the dammed ice and flows into your attic through cracks and openings in your roof covering. From the attic it flows into your home, damaging exterior walls, insulation and ceilings.

How to Prevent Ice Dams

Ice dams are caused by differences in temperature of various areas of your roof. The best prevention is a combination of insulation and ventilation. A well-ventilated attic keeps cold air circulating, maintaining a constant temperature. Proper insulation keeps the warm air in your home, allowing the ventilation to do its job.

How to Remove an Ice Dam

Removing an ice dam is delicate and dangerous work. You should not attempt it yourself unless you are physically capable. You can easily damage your roof or injure yourself if you do it improperly.

  • Remove snow from your roof. A “roof rake” and a push broom can be used for this.  Plenty of local contractors are available to do this for you.
  • If water is flowing into your home, you can ease the flow by making a channel through the dam with warm water. DO NOT use a sharp object to break the dam. You will damage your roof!
  • Some people use a thawing agent to help melt the dam. Some people swear by the method of putting the melting agent in nylon netting (womens’ hosiery in a pinch), to hold it in place over the dam.

Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Ice Dams?

Many Nebraska homeowners policies will cover water damage to the interior of your home caused by ice dams. Typically not covered are the cost to remove the dam. Ice dams do not usually damage a roof that’s in good condition. Once the ice melts, the shingles lay back down. If an ice dam actually damages your roof, and your shingles were in good condition, your homeowners policy may provide coverage. Policies vary, and conditions vary.

This comes from a fellow blogger.

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