As the mercury begins to drop and the snow begins to blanket our roof tops, a quiet cause of property damage may be forming: ICE DAMS.

Posted by on Jan 24, 2011 in Business Insurance, Homeowners Insurance, Insurance, Personal Insurance, Property Damage

As the mercury begins to drop and the snow begins to blanket our roof tops, a quiet cause of property damage may be forming: ICE DAMS.

Cause:

1.The build-up of a heavy snow pack on a roof top.

2.Roof temperatures which vary and hover at or near 32° F.

3.Pooled water in the mid-region of the roof.

4.An ice dam at the lower portion of the roof.

Effect:

An ice dam will likely form when the roof temperature hovers near freezing. The warmer portions of the roof will begin to melt snow allowing water to flow down to the lower roof elevations. The snow melt will re-freeze as it encounters the cooler portion of the roof, thus forming an ice dam. The remaining water will be trapped between the higher elevation snow pack and the frozen run-off in the lower ice dam.

The pooled water may begin to seep through tiny cracks in the roof top. The water can penetrate into the attic space, walls, ceilings and insulation of a structure. This may result in excess moisture, dampness, mold and mildew.

in addition, damage may be seen as gutters and down spouts are compromised under the weight of an ice dam.

Prevention:

Roof top temperature regulation through quality and appropriate attic insulation. This will prevent the warm air of the common areas from penetrating into the attic and heating the roof top.

Proper seals for vents, chimneys and duct work to eliminate hot/cold air ventilation variables.  The cooler the attic space, the better!

Removal of a heavy snow pack from a roof top. It is not recommended that a church employee or volunteer remove the snow. We strongly encourage using a licensed and insured roofing professional who is properly trained and equipped to handle the slippery roof-top conditions.

Thank to our friends at Church Underwriters, Inc. for this timely information.