Following on from my last blog post, here are some additional tips Mark Peter, a Denver area agent for State Farm, has for homeowners to avoid forms of lesser known water damage typical to our colder climate homes – ice dams and attic condensation.
MP: Fortunately, building codes have requirements that attempt to prevent the problems of ice dams and attic condensation. But codes don’t address all the issues, and as codes differ from community to community and change over the years, some houses may be lacking in code adherence.
One of the items I see are older homes where the roof is not properly vented. For example, my mom’s home was built in the early 60’s. A simple brick ranch with 1 attic vent – acceptable construction in its day. She has a new roof being put on, so we will also bring the vents up to current code which will entail 6 vents. From 1 vent to 6 vents! This should allow the home to breath, so heat does not build up in the attic. Here are some suggestions:
- Hire an inspector or home-improvement contractor to evaluate if the insulation in the attic space is adequate for your location, all penetrations are properly sealed and insulated, and verify soffit and roof or ridge venting exists for all roof planes.
- Keep gutters clean of leaves and other debris. This will not necessarily prevent ice dams, but clean gutters can help drain ice melt away as it makes its way to the gutters during a thaw.
- If you have a whole house fan installed, be sure there is a good seal when the fan is in the off position.
And here are a couple not to do:
- Do not routinely remove snow from the roof or attempt to “chip away” the ice of an ice dam. It will likely lead to shingle damage.
- Do not install large mechanical equipment or water heaters in attics. Not only do they present an unwelcome fire hazard, but they’ll also increase the temperature in your attic.
DP: I imagine that it is always best to consult a professional for the best way to avoid ice dams and water damage.
MP: Absolutely. This is an area homeowners can save themselves a lot of angst and expense in avoidable repairs, not to mention keeping their annual premiums as low as possible.
For more information or to discuss a specific homeowner’s insurance question, please contact Mark Peter at 303-755-3220 and firstname.lastname@example.org.