It has been a very cold and snowy winter here in Westchester County and as a result water damage from ice damming has been causing coslty damage to homes and businesses alike. Ice damming is when water freezes at the bottom of your roof or in your drainage systems trapping water from the melting snow. The water then builds up and creates pressure on your roof or around the foundation of your home. When the pressure is too much water has nowhere to go, but inside your home leaving you with water damage and flooding. Here are several common places ice damming takes place and to prevent it from happening.
Clear Roofs: Heat rises and as a result the peak of your roof is typically the warmest area on your roof. This causes snow on the peak to melt. At the bottom of your roof however is typically the colder less insulated area on your roof. As a result water freezes at the base of your roof after it has dripped down from the peak. When this ice builds up it will form a dam which traps water on your roof like a puddle. To remove snow you can purchase a snow rake to help reach high areas. We do not recommend using a ladder or climbing on your roof because of the risk of a slip and fall injury.
Clear Drainage Systems: When snow melts and turns into water it needs a place to go. If your drainage systems are not clear, water will get trapped, freeze and block the drain. As more water builds up it will create pressure on the foundation of your home and as a result it can cause water damage and flooding. Home drains are typically found around basement or low level windows and doors.
Clear Gutters: Another part of you drainage system is your gutter system. Typically fall is the best time to clean your gutters because falling leaves and debris build up in gutters. If you gutters are not clear they will trap water which during the winter can freeze. When water in your gutters freezes, run off from melting snow will get trapped on your roof or it will drip down the side of your home. As a result, the water build-up can cause a leak in your roof will the runoff will drip onto the side of your home and windows making them dirty. When it gets warmer out you can also install heated wiring in your gutter system to prevent water from freezing.
Check for Leaks: The best way to prevent significant water damage is by checking for leaks. Sometimes a leak in the attic or basement can go unnoticed for quite some time. It is important to check for leaks during the day while the snow is melting. The sooner you identify a leak the sooner you can fix it and prevent even more costly water damage.