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Beware of Ice Damming

With the freeze-thaw period occurring in many parts of Canada and a few unfortunate winter storms still bringing snow, considering ways to mitigate water damage should be a priority. In addition to changing temperatures causing burst pipes, homeowners should also be mindful of water damage caused by ice damming. This occurs when ice and water accumulates on your roof due to melting snow, changing temperatures and improper ventilation. As heat rises in your attic, ice will melt as it warms and refreeze when temperatures drop. With this combination, water can start to build within the eaves troughs and under roof shingles. If it has nowhere else to drain, the water can enter from the roof into your home through the insulation and walls, causing water damage and even mould.

As a home owner what can you do?

Inspect outside

  • Be sure to remove any ice or snow from your eaves troughs so water can flow freely (for example, use a broom to safely knock down any icicles hanging from the gutters).
  • Reposition any downspouts away from the house and check to ensure they are free of debris.
  • If you wish to remove snow from your roof, do so safely. Do not climb directly on the roof or use a rake to remove snow as this can damage your roof. Alternatively, best to hire a professional to safely clear snow and ice.
  • If the extent of ice damming is significant, consider contacting a professional roofer or gutter cleaning expert.

Look inside

  • Check your roof from inside your home and the attic to be sure water is not entering.
  • Check the insulation in your attic and ensure it has been properly maintained (for example, check there is enough insulation, weather stripping and seals have been properly installed).
  • Roof ventilation is extremely important and a well-maintained temperature can help eliminate the contribution to the freeze-thaw and accumulation of water. If you are unsure of your roof ventilation, consult a professional to inspect and advise.
  • As a reminder with any valuables or important items stored in your basement, be sure to place in plastic containers and off the floor or store somewhere safe.

Through a few simple precautionary steps, you can prevent ice damming and associated water damage to your home. Find out more ways you can protect your home from water damage. For questions on your insurance and coverage, be sure to speak with one of our brokers.

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