Thursday, May 30

As Temperatures Rise, Ice Dam Cases Extend As Far South As Tennessee

Following a particularly rough winter in many parts of the United States, many homeowners are likely familiar with the process of handling roof damage. However, now that temperatures are beginning to rise, some unexpected areas are reportedly learning about repairing a roof after a harsh winter: reports show that ice dams are forming as far south as Tennessee, causing significant problems for homeowners unused to this typically northern problem.

While winter temperatures in Tennessee normally hover somewhere between 28 and 52 degrees Fahrenheit, this past season has been unusually harsh. In mid-February, for example, an estimated 30 people in the state died from weather-related causes, like hypothermia, after a severe storm sent the area into a Level II State of Emergency. The weather has since returned to normal, but the combination of snow, ice and rain has caused a problem most Tennesseans have never heard of.

Ice damming occurs when ice builds up on the roof of a building. This winter phenomenon is formed when water runs into a home’s gutters, freezes, and then begins to melt from the inside out because of the home’s heat. Because it is unable to flow out of the blocked gutters, the water backs up into the house, causing water damage to the roof and ceilings. Once the damage occurs, there is little that can be done.

Now that temperatures are rising, many Tennesseans are reportedly calling their insurance companies and local roof repair companies for advice and assistance. Unfortunately, these services often don’t know much more than their clients do: while relatively common in colder states, this problem simply isn’t something southern states typically experience.

“Up north, we repair about 40 roofs per year with damage from ice damming,” says Michael Hariu, President, Paramount Roofing & Siding. “The best way to prevent ice damming is to maintain adequate attic insulation and ventilation to keep your roof deck cool and avoid excessive heat loss through the roof. Metal roofs typically do not suffer from ice damming because they tend to shed snow readily off the roof eliminating the source of water that forms ice dams.”

To avoid ice damming, experts suggest increasing ventilation and insulation to a home’s attic, which will reduce the amount of heat that escapes through the roof. If ice dams do form and cause damage, however, insurance companies recommend that homeowners clean off their roofs, call their insurance providers and contact a roofing company. While coverage is determined on a case-by-case basis, especially in southern states, most policies do include water damage.

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