Act Now To Prevent Costly Ice Damage Later

Home Inspector with Prokore Inspections

Ice dams may not be something the average homeowner has ever heard of, but they occur all too frequently during the winter months, resulting in costly damage. Left unaddressed, water seepage from ice dams can ruin ceilings, walls, attics and roofing.

Ice dams usually form when heat from inside a home causes snow on the roof to melt and trickle to the roof's edge, where it refreezes on cold eaves, blocking gutters and drains. Since water cannot flow over the built-up ice, it backs up behind the ice, creating pools, and seeps into the home under the shingles. 


"A typical U.S. winter will generate more than $500 million in property damage from ice dams," according to MetLife Auto & Home. "By taking a few proactive measures in the fall, homeowners can often prevent ice dams and save themselves a lot of time, money and frustration."

Steps to take in the fall:

* Keep all gutters and downspouts clear. Make certain that leaves, sticks and debris are removed completely from your home's gutters and downspouts.

* Keep your attic chilly. The most effective way to eliminate ice dams is to stop snowmelt by making the roof colder. This can be achieved by preventing air infiltration into the attic space by insulating the floor of the attic and by blocking all bypasses where warm air from the interior of the home can rise into the attic.

* Identify water entry points within the home. You may wish to contact a contractor or infrared specialist to locate these entry points and take the appropriate actions to create a waterproof barrier.

* Protect your roof with some extra help. If you're still getting ice dams after insulating and ventilating, consider installing extra protection along your eaves. An ice belt, a solid, metal flashing, allows snow to easily slide off it while providing a barrier for melted snow. Electrical heat tracing can help if an ice dam starts forming, melting it away with one flip of a switch.

Steps to take in the winter:

* Keep a lookout for giant icicles. One of the first warning signs of possible ice dams - and definitely poor insulation and ventilation - are giant icicles hanging from the eaves.

* If possible, keep snow off the roof with a roof rake. Carefully, use a roof rake or push broom to reduce the amount of snow that could melt. Do not climb on the roof to clear the snow as serious injury may result. Also, be cautious of electrical wires.

In an emergency situation, where water is seeping into the house, the best advice is to notify an infrared specialist or professional contractor to locate the leak so you can begin taking corrective action.


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Posted By: Randy King - Principal Inspector - Progressive Property Inspections

Proudly offering property inspection services to the following south central Minnesota Communities:

Mankato, North Mankato, Eagle Lake, St. Peter, Lake Crystal, Madison Lake, Janesville, New Ulm, Nicollet, Courtland, Hanska, Madelia, Waseca, Mapleton, Good Thunder, Vernon Center, Elysian, Waterville, Winnebago, Le Sueur, Le Center, Montgomery


Re-Blogged 2 times:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
  1. Chris Minion 01/31/2010 03:27 AM
  2. Roy Kelley 01/31/2010 03:33 AM
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Jeremy K. Frost
Keller Williams Realty - Dripping Springs, TX
Associate Broker, CNE, CRS, ePro, PSA

Thanks for the info and shedding some light on this subject!

Dec 03, 2009 01:04 AM #1
Richard T. Dolbeare
eXp Realty - Kahului, HI
R(B), ABR, CRS...Hawaii Multi-Island Specialist

I don't think we have those issues in my area.  Now drywood termites is another matter...

Dec 03, 2009 01:22 AM #2
Gene Allen
Fathom Realty - Cary, NC
Realty Consultant for Cary Real Estate

Yea good thing we don't have that kink of a problem here but thanks for the info.

Dec 04, 2009 01:32 PM #3
Lynn Johnson
Coldwell Banker Home Connection - Owatonna, MN
Owatonna, MN Real Estate

Randy - Thanks for passing this info along.  I'll be mentioning that to my clients.  We sure got hit hard with the snow - way too early, isn't it?

Dec 10, 2009 05:14 AM #4
Randy King
Prokore Inspections - Mankato, MN

Lynn - Yes we certainly got hit pretty hard, but there's nothing like a beautiful white Chrismtas. I'm happy I could pass some useful information on.

Dec 13, 2009 04:02 AM #5
Chris Minion
O'Brien Realty - Lexington Park, MD

Hi Randy,

Thank you for the information and advice.  We have had 2 snow storms so far this season.  Thanks for sharing.  Have a great week!



Jan 31, 2010 03:22 AM #6
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