Category Archives: Homeowner Tips

Client Service Alert – Protect your Property from Ice Dams

Icicles that form during Northwestern Ontario’s never-ending winter may look beautiful, but they could be a symptom of something sinister – ice dams.

Ice dams are thick ridges of ice that build up along a home’s eaves. They block melting ice from escaping through the eavestroughs and they can spell it huge problems for your home, including a collapsed roof.

How do ice dams form?

When heat rises in your home, poor insulation and ventilation can allow this warm air to escape and heat your roof. The snow melts and causes water to flow until it’s far enough away from the attic’s warm air to freeze. As this process repeats itself, the melted snow continues to freeze in the same area to create a buildup of ice that eventually forms an ice dam.

Are ice dams damaging?

Fresh water ice weighs about 60lbs per cubic foot. When you consider that, it makes sense that ice dams can tear off gutters, loosen shingles, and cause water to back-up into your home causing peeling paint, sagging ceilings, and soggy insulation. On lower pitched roofs, even a thin ice dam can be problematic. At best, ice damming is a preventable, or at least fixable, situation. At its worst, it’s very damaging on your home and potentially dangerous.

How to prevent ice dams

The Insurance Brokers Association of Ontario (IBAO) has published these helpful tips to keep your home free of ice dams:

  1. Check your roof once a week to monitor the snow and ice accumulation; if you can, remove the snow and ice with a roof rake before it builds up.
  2. Insure that your attic is adequately insulated
  3. From inside your home, seal any perforations in the ceiling
  4. Ensure your soffit vents are not blocked by insulation
  5. Draw more air into the attic through the gable and eave vents
  6. Keep roof vents free of snow so cold air can circulate in your attic
  7. Make sure that the ducts connected to the kitchen, bathroom, and dryer vents all lead outside through either the roof or walls, but never through the soffit.
  8. If you are installing a new roof, have the contractor provide options for an ice and water shield.

We know that ice damming can happen despite your best efforts and intentions. Luckily, your home insurance policy could help to support you through any necessary repairs. If an ice dam has formed on your roof, do not climb up to inspect it or remove it yourself – leave that to the professionals.  Instead, check your attic for leaks.

If you do find a leak, give Jones & Associates a call to chat about next steps.

Client Service Alert – Excess Snow and the Risk to Property

Large amounts of snow on a roof

Snow, those of us who live in the North have a love/hate relationship with the white stuff.  When we get dumped on with a storm, most of us either hibernate or get excited about reaching for the skis.  Often, you’ll hear your friends and neighbours moan and groan about having to shovel the walkway and stairs, the driveway, and the driveway again.   With all this attention paid to clearing away the snow to protect those walking and the vehicles parking on our properties, we often forget to look up.  Removing accumulated snow from the roofs of your home and outbuildings is an excellent way to protect the property from damage and yourself from injury.

According to the National Research Council of Canada, the minimum snow load that a roof should be able to handle is 21 pounds per square foot. (That’s about 2 to 2.5 feet of packed snow)!  As your home and roof age, the risk of damage to your home increases.   Watch for signs of impending collapse:

  • Sagging ceilings
  • Visible cracks in ceilings and interior walls
  • Leaks
  • Unusual cracking or popping sounds
  • Warped or bent utility pipes
  • Doorways that won’t close or are hard to open

You can help avoid these symptoms by always performing regular maintenance on your roof, keeping drains, gutter and downspouts clear of snow and being diligent with removing excess snow from the roof itself.   To reduce the risk of damage to shingles or injury to yourself, consult insured professionals to help you keep the surface as clear as possible of dangerous weight and ice.   

Stay Warm