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Ice Dam Prevention During Winter Vacations

You might be one of the many people who like to take an extended vacation during the winter months.  (Boy, that sounds good right now!)  But unfortunately, many such snowbirds come home to a nasty surprise: leaks.

The leaks may have sprung because an ice dam formed on the roof while the family visited relatives for Christmas, or because they were off enjoying white sandy beaches while snow and ice piled on their roof.  Nobody was home to watch it, nobody was home to rake the roof, and nobody was home to call an ice dam removal professional when the roof couldn’t take any more.

In some cases, the roof keeps leaking for weeks or even months.  That damage is incalculable.  Sometimes it takes a full year to get it all straightened out.

You probably take burglar-proofing measures before you leave home.  You leave the lights on, set your alarm system, get someone to pick up the newspapers, and so forth.  But few people think to take ice-proofing measures.  Which is a shame, because an unattended roof leak can steal your wealth faster than most burglars can.

I recommend hiring a house sitter – or at least a “roof sitter” – who will keep an eye on what’s going on while you’re away.  You should do this even if you leave for just a few days, and your absolutely need do it if it’s winter and you leave for more than about a week.

Make sure your roof-sitter knows what to look for.  Make sure they know what an ice dam is.  Make sure they understand that big icicles are often a sign of an ice dam in the making.  You might pay them to rake your roof while you’re gone (in the event of a significant snow event).

If there’s big trouble, ask them to take a picture and send it to you so you can make a decision as whether you need to call an ice dam removal professional.

(You can even have the roof-sitter call our office—we’re here to help you, not here to sell you.  We’ll happily walk him or her through whatever it takes to check for leaks—checking for wet spots, ice under the overhangs, and other signs of trouble.  We’ll give you an honest assessment and we’ll let you make the ultimate decision.)

All this may sound like a hassle, and not relaxing.  But it beats returning home only to another hotel while the repairmen live in your house for a few months.

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