Home Damage From Ice Dams a Danger as Snow Thaws and Freezes in Chicago Area

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If your roof is covered in snow and you don’t take steps to remove it soon, it may result in an ice dam and possible damage to your home, according to roofers and insurance experts.

“Getting the snow off before it has a chance to freeze and thaw and turn into an ice dam is essential,” said Dakota Fara, co-owner of Carol Stream-based roofing company FTC Oury Group.

Fara used a retractable roof rake to remove snow from a customer's house in Wheaton on Tuesday.

Ice dams can occur when the temperature in your attic is above freezing and the snow on your roof melts and then refreezes as it hits the colder eaves, according to State Farm Insurance. 

“As water continues to under melt, it’ll stop at the dam and it’ll actually back up into the house. It causes a major amount of damage,” said public adjuster Chris Hilkemann of St. Charles-based Partners Loss Consulting.

Hilkemann said the water could soak your attic insulation and penetrate the drywall.

State Farm said damage could come in the form of drooping ceilings, water leaks on interior walls and ceilings, jammed doors, cracked interior walls near the center of your home and creaking sounds.

“Completely insurable, but you definitely want to get a professional on the phone and file that insurance claim as soon as possible,” Hilkemann said.

Hilkemann said homeowners could also take steps to prevent ice dams by filling panty hose with rock salt and throwing it on a roof.

“The intent is then that those would land in the gutters and those will always cause the snow and ice to melt,” Hilkemann said.  “If you have free-flowing gutters, then you have no problems with ice dams.”

There is a possibility that salt can damage roof shingles that are made of organic materials, however, so experts urge homeowners to be cautious if they opt to go that route.

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