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How To Prevent & Remove Ice Dams

How To Prevent & Remove Ice Dams | Insurcomm

An ice dam can develop on the roof of any home when snowy or icy conditions are present. The damage from an ice dam can be significant, but the good news is that these dams can be prevented when proper precautions are taken. By learning more about what ice dams are and how they are formed, you can understand what it takes to prevent them and to deal with them if they do develop on your roof.

What Is An Ice Dam?

Ice Dam Picture

When you think about snow or ice accumulating on your roof, you may think about a relatively even layer of frozen precipitation over the entire surface. However, several factors may cause uneven heating on the roof. For example, internal heat from the home may not penetrate through the roof evenly. Sunlight and shading from trees, the chimney, and nearby structures may also result in uneven heating on the roof. Uneven heating may result in snow or ice melting in some areas of the roof and not in others. The water will run down the roof until it hits a colder space, and it may re-freeze. When this happens, thick ice will accumulate, and this creates pooling water just above the ice dam. Unfortunately, a roof is designed to be impermeable to water that is flowing downward. It is not impermeable to water that pools on the roof. Water leaks are one of the most significant types of property damage associated with ice dams. They may also result in damaged gutters, fascia, soffits and more.  

Preventing an Ice Dam

The good news is that you can prevent this type of damage from occurring if you take a few steps. Ideally, your entire roof will remain cold, and no internal heat will impact its surface temperature. To accomplish this, you need to have high-quality insulation evenly spaced throughout the attic. You may also need to reseal some areas. Improving attic ventilation can also be helpful. Before winter arrives, take a closer look at trees near the home. Trees can grow substantially during the warm weather season, so branches and limbs that were not a problem last year may result in uneven roof heating this year. Pruning and trimming before winter arrives is a helpful preventative step.

Removing an Ice Dam

If you notice signs of an ice dam forming, you may be inclined to grab an ice pick or another sharp tool and start chipping away at the ice. However, that can result in tremendous damage to the roof. Salt may be helpful, but it can fall off of the roof and harm your vegetation. There are a few safer and effective ways to deal with an ice dam. For example, you may place a box fan in the attic to promote improved circulation. You may also use a special raking device that is made specifically for this purpose. This special rake may change the temperature of the roof almost immediately. Another idea is to use calcium chloride as a deicer. Or, cat litter! An easy way to apply the calcium chloride or cat litter to the roof is to stuff it into a pair of nylon pantyhose.

Dealing with Water Damage

If you remove an ice dam quickly, you may not have to deal with the effects of water damage from a roof leak. However, if you are like many others, you may not realize that an ice dam has formed until it is too late. Insurcomm is your leading source for water damage repair from ice dams and other issues throughout New England. We provide our clients with a fast response and effective remediation and restoration services. Water damage may become more problematic over time, so it is best to address this issue head-on.

The best time to prepare for an ice dam is well before cold winter weather arrives. Spending time improving ventilation, and insulation throughout the attic and pruning tree branches are essential before each winter season arrives. You also need to be observant throughout the winter so that you can take pre-emptive steps if an ice dam begins to form. Reach out to Insurcomm immediately for restoration services if your home is damaged by water.

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How To Prevent Frozen Pipes

How To Prevent Frozen Pipes - Insurcomm

When water freezes it expands. When this occurs pipes are likely to burst which can mean disaster for your home or business. Rarely, the best outcome from frozen pipes is the loss of water. More likely, once pipes freeze they split and burst – causing severe flood damage.

Water loss is a headache. Flood damage is a disaster. The best way to avoid the problem is prevention. A few easy tips can prepare your water pipes for the frigid weather to come.

6 Tips to Prevent Frozen Pipes

If you’ve heard the quote “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” it definitely applies to water pipes. Use these tips to protect your pipes from the winter weather freeze.

1. Keep your temperature up.

It’s not unusual to be away from your home or your business during winter holidays. If outside temperatures drop below freezing, your pipes are at risk. Keeping indoor temperatures above 55 degrees can make all the difference. When you are at home, don’t turn down the heat at night. A consistent temperature will help keep your pipes at a safe temperature.

2. Let the Faucet Trickle.

Fast flowing creeks and rivers don’t usually freeze. When they do, freezing begins where water moves slowly. The same thing applies to the water in your pipes. A slight trickle usually prevents your pipes from freezing. If ice does form, the open faucet will relieve pressure build-up. Water pressure is what usually causes pipes to rupture.

3. Open Cabinet Doors.

Most sinks have cabinets below them that hide water pipes. Open these cabinet doors when temperatures are colder than usual. This action can allow extra heat to reach the pipes. It’s also a good idea to leave all inside doors open to allow heat to circulate freely throughout the building.

4. Insulate Pipes.

Before the temperature gets too cold, consider adding insulation to your exposed pipes. Foam or other types of insulation can be fitted to pipes to help them stay closer to the temperature of the water. Pipes inside walls are often more protected from the existing insulation. Exposed pipes may be found in the basement, attic, or crawl-spaces beneath a home.

5. Seal the Gaps.

Gaps may occur around where pipes come into the building. Cracks and gaps let in cold air which may be restricted to the area where your pipes are most vulnerable. Seal these spaces with foam insulation or caulk. Repairs on both interior and exterior sides of the wall will ensure no cold air can enter the building. If there are cracked or broken windows in the attic or basement, they should be repaired as well.

6. Locate Your Main Water Valve.

Before frigid weather occurs, find your main water shut-off valve. If a disaster occurs, you will need to turn off the water as quickly as possible. When you are out of town, you will need to be able to tell others where to locate the valve.

How to Thaw Frozen Pipes

If your pipes freeze, there are things you can do to get water flowing again. Turning on a faucet to only see a trickle of water can be worrisome but don’t panic. There is likely ice somewhere in the pipes. It’s important to be careful when thawing pipes. If a line has already burst, water can flood the home as pipes thaw. When you know a pipe is broken, shut off the main water valve.

Apply heat to the frozen section of pipe using a hair dryer or heating pad. (Never use an open flame since pipes could be damaged or a fire could result.) Apply heat until full pressure is restored. Don’t forget to check other faucets to ensure more pipes are not frozen.

Sometimes, the most careful planning cannot prepare you for what mother nature has in store. In the event you experience frozen and burst water pipes, it is important to take action immediately. Water damage begins quickly and continues long after the event that caused it. The professionals at Insurcomm will respond immediately to your water emergency to assess the damage and begin necessary repairs. As New England’s leading restoration company, we provide emergency services to commercial and residential clients in Maine, New Hampshire, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Vermont.

 

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