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IciclesTo those who are less experienced with snowy winters, icicles hanging from the roof are objects of beauty. However, icicles mean trouble because they indicate that your roof may have an ice dam problem. Ice dams can damage your roof shingles and cause water seepage into your home.

How Ice Dams Form

When heat from your home gets into the attic, it can warm the rooftop above freezing. This causes snow on your roof to melt and flow down to a point where the rooftop temperature is below freezing. The water then refreezes into ice. After several snow melt and refreeze cycles, an ice dam can build up on the lower part of your roof. Melt water from the top of the roof collects at the ice dam and forms a pool of water.

Your roof is designed to repel water flowing down its slope. It isn't designed to hold a pool of water. This means water can seep through your roof and into the attic, causing water damage inside of your home. This water can also spread to your ceilings and walls.

How To Prevent Ice Dams

It's a good idea to keep your rain gutters clear of anything that might block the flow of water. However, the main culprit in ice dam formation is the heat from your home that is escaping into your attic and warming your rooftop. This is prevented by insulating your attic floor. In addition, openings that allow heat into the attic must be sealed off. Light fixtures, your fireplace and exhaust vent tubes may have gaps between them and the attic floor. Any devices or equipment in your attic that generate heat must be removed.

In addition to attic insulation and removal of heat sources, your attic must have vents that allow residual heat to escape and allow the cold air in. This ensures that the attic temperature remains below freezing when the outside temperature is also below freezing. Attics should already have these vents in place. Look for these vents and make sure they aren't blocked. Attics are often used for storage. This practice may interfere with proper ventilation.

Since insulating your attic and unblocking attic vents (from the inside) is an internal operation, you can still prevent ice dam formation even after winter has set in. Do not try to chip away ice from your rooftop because this may damage your shingles. Never push snow upwards or sideways on your roof because this may also cause shingle damage.

Besides preventing roof and water damage, insulating your attic also reduces the energy costs of home heating in the winter and cooling in the summer. Yet another benefit is that it prevents homeowners insurance claims, which helps keep your premiums lower.

We've got you covered. Call General Insurance Services at (219) 362-2113 for more information on Michigan City home insurance.
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