In This Issue

When ice dams cause a jam

How to prevent these winter troublemakers

March 2, 2012

Ice DamWinter brings snow for skiing, sled riding and snowman making, but it also drags along a mischievous cousin – the ice dam. Many ERIE Customers experience ice dams each year. 

What’s an ice dam?

During the cold months, the heat of the air in the top floor of the house can escape and melt the snow on the roof. If homeowners don’t have enough insulation towards the roof portions of their homes, an ice dam has a better chance of forming. The water then drips into the gutter, freezing and curling back up under the shingle. As the water continues to drip down the roof, the dam grows higher. 

How common are they?

These pesky problems require warm days, cold nights and snowfall. “When you have the sequence of events that cause ice dams, thousands of homes will end up with them,” says Agent Eric Snyder of the Eric W. Snyder Insurance Agency in Monkton, Md. 

What’s the damage?

When the water is unable to properly drain through the gutters, it seeps into the house. “Ice dams can create upwards of $50,000 of damage,” warns Eric.

How to prevent them

“The best thing to do is to make sure your home is properly insulated,” advises Kevin Hudson, property claims supervisor and catastrophe coordinator of ERIE’s New York Branch. Concerned homeowners should hire an insulating contractor to do an analysis of the home. “Check your roof routinely,” adds Kevin. If your region has experienced drastic temperature changes during the winter months, look for ice dams every couple of days.

How insurance can help

If you have ERIE’s Extracover or Ultracover homeowners policy, you may have some protection if your house is damaged by ice damming. Check with your Agent to see if your homeowners policy covers these types of damages.


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