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Prevent ice dams

Ice dams occur when melting ice build-up in your roof causes water damage to your interior walls and ceilings.

roof and gutters frozen in ice

Steps to take

Proper ventilation, drainage, and insulation are the only ways to prevent ice dams.

  • Make sure your gutters are clear of leaves and debris.
  • Check and seal places where warm air could leak from your house to the attic: vent pipes, exhaust fans, chimneys, attic hatches, and light fixtures are all possibilities.
  • Inspect, or have your roof and attic inspected for proper ventilation and insulation.
  • Look for signs of inadequate ventilation: rust spots, rusty nails, or a mildew smell are all signals that moisture has formed on the inside of your roof.
  • If you have soffit vents in your eaves, make sure they are not blocked and insulation surrounding them is secured so that air can flow easily.
  • Keep snow from accumulating on the lower three to six feet of your roof.

Additional steps for extra protection

  • Install snow and ice slides to prevent ice and snow from "bonding" to the lower roof.
  • Install a rubberized ice and water shield beneath the roof shingles for the first three to six feet from the eaves up.
  • Install heating cable along the eaves to melt ice.

Removing ice dams

If you need to remove an ice dam, do not attempt to do so with a shovel, blowtorch, or snowblower. Call a professional to get it taken care of.

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Please note: Information presented on this page is intended to be general information about insurance and is not specific to Liberty Mutual policies. Policies and coverages vary by state and insurer. Contact your insurance company to understand specifics regarding your policy and coverages.