Weather conditions are perfect for forming ice dams


CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP) – When you see icicles hanging from a roof-line, that’s a sure sign there’s an ice dam; a thick layer of ice above the gutter.

Ice dams form when heat from your house melts the snow on your roof. When it gets to the gutter, it re-freezes, and the water backs up from the dam. That water eventually gets under your shingles, and drips down the walls inside your house.

“If you’ve had ice dams in the past, you’re going to have them again,” said Fran Beaulieu, a Chicopee Home Improvement contractor. “You might just see a little stain, but generally there’s water in the walls. Left to sit there, it could cause mold, and cause a lot of respiratory problems, if you have young kids with asthma or anything.”

Related: Roof collapse and snow removal safety information

It’s not just mold. The water will damage your ceiling, walls and belongings. Agawam Insurance Broker Bill Trudeau told 22News, “The standard homeowner’s policy would cover the damage that happens to the building. Some policies cover the things that happen to the contents as well, but most of the damage we see is to the building.”

A short term fix would be to use a roof-rake to remove the first few feet of snow from the edge of the roof. A long term solution would be to increase the insulation in your attic, so the heat from your house doesn’t reach the roof. “If you have a cold attic, a cold attic is something that can discourage melting,” Trudeau said.

You might also want to consider replacing your roof when you add insulation.

One more seasonal danger, furnace vents that come out the side of your house. You’ll want to make sure the snow doesn’t block the vent, which could cause carbon monoxide to back up into your house.

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