Can you believe that we are still getting snow in March? I know come March in New York, when it is still snowing it can feel like it might never end. But while spring is hopefully just around the corner, we still have some ice dams that we have to contend with on our roofs. Here are some tips to keep your house free from ice buildup.

What is an ice dam? As snow melts and refreezes along the edge of your roof, the accumulation of ice essentially forms a dam, preventing water from running off as it normally would. In many cases, the water backs up under your shingles, eventually making its way inside your home.

That’s the bad news. The good news is that you may be able to help combat ice dams, and the damage they cause, with these five tips.

1.       Routinely clean out your gutters, downspouts and drains.
Be sure, going into winter, that you don’t still have fall leaves clogging your gutters. You may even want to think about gutter screens while you’re at it. They help keep your water drainage system clear and save you time.

2.       Use a roof rake to remove snow accumulation.
Check with your local hardware store about purchasing a roof rake, which has a long handle and a specialized head that shouldn’t damage your roof. As snow accumulates on your roof, simply rake it off while standing safely on the ground, out of the way of falling snow.

3.       Let your attic be cold.
The warmer your attic, the warmer your roof, and the faster the snow on it melts. So, be sure warm air can leave your attic and a little cool air can come in. Adequate insulation on the attic floor can help keep the heat in your living areas, where you want it, and out of your attic, where you don’t.

4.       Watch for icicles.
Yes, they’re a charming addition to your roofline in the winter. But, icicles can also signal trouble. If you’re concerned, hire a contractor with experience removing ice dams to take a look.

5.       Take preventative measures on your roof.
If it’s time for a roof update anyway, you may want to consider some added protection, such as having your contractor place a waterproof membrane under the shingles to help prevent leaks or install a heating cable along the eaves to help melt ice. Your contractor can help you decide what may be best for you.

Remember, winter and roof damage often go hand in hand, and the aftermath is anything but pleasant. We here at the Bryan Agency hope these tips will help you have a safe and worry-free season! If you have questions about coverages on your homeowners or property policies, please call or contact us online. We are the leading agent for homeowners insurance in the Hudson Valley and Long Island.

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