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What Is an Ice Dam?

Ice dams for over time when a roof has not been cleared of snow. During the day the roof heats up and some of the snow melts. The water and wet snow creeps toward the bottom of the roof where it freezes during the nighttime temperature drop. Once there is a blockage at the bottom of the roof the water and wet snow keeps piling up behind it. As time goes on and depending on the pitch of the roof, that dam can get large and trap a lot of moisture behind it. The moisture then begins to creep up and under the shingles on the roof and find whatever holes are there. With repeated freezing and thawing those holes and cracks get larger and larger. A homeowner might not notice any damage for quite a while. Then when there is a significant melting event or a heavy rainfall all of the water gets backed up behind the dam and has nowhere to go except through the roof and down inside of the walls.

How to Prevent an Ice Dam from Happening

Winters with a lot of snowfall and temperatures vacillating between a deep freeze and thaw typically produce more property damage due to ice dams. The best way to prevent an ice dam is to make sure your roof is clear of snow, particularly at the bottom of the roof. If you do get build up there, try to rake it off but if it gets to be a sizable dam do not wait for it to melt. Hire a professional ice dam removal company. Many use pressurized steam to ensure there is no damage to the roof. The best way to prevent an ice dam in the future is to have proper insulation and ventilation in your attic. A quality roofing specialist will be able to inspect your attic and make recommendations.

I See Moisture On My Ceiling, What Should I Do?

If you have not been able to maintain the roof and you are seeing moisture in your roof, ceiling or walls, call ServiceMaster immediately. We have 24 hour emergency service and over 100 years of combined experience with ice dams. All our water technicians are IICRC certified. It is critical to get the dam removed as soon as possible as well as to start to dry out the structure before mold or secondary damage starts. We have state of the art metering capability to track exactly where the water has gone. We will then remove unsalvageable materials and dry the walls and structure with our powerful dehumidifiers and air moving systems. Our goal is to have your home or business dry and safe in just a few days so that your contractor can replace anything that is unsalvageable.

Should I Contact My Insurance Company?

It is also imperative to contact your insurance company. Depending on the damage, some claims can be very expensive as the damage will include the roof, insulation, ceilings, walls and even floors and contents.