Homeowners are reminded to keep a close eye on the ice and snow on their houses to prevent getting water in your house. 

"An ice dam is a layer of ice build up on a roof," explains SGI Manager of Media Relations, Tyler McMurchy with SGI, "which prevents melted snow and ice from draining off. The snow actually acts as a layer of insulation on the roof of your attic. When that snow melts above a warmed attic, water moves down to the cooler roof edge and soffit and then freezes."

"Unless that water is allowed to drain properly, the resulting freezing can create ice dams on your roof especially if the temperatures fluctuate between freezing and above zero."

"Ice dams can cause considerable damage to your home. Ice dams can damage the shingles and soffit on your roof. As it spreads up the roof, water eventually works its way under shingles and enters the attic. Once water enters the attic, it can damage the roof, the ceiling, walls and the contents of your home. If your ceiling insulation becomes wet, it loses insulation value and can lead to a rise of temperature of the attic which then accelerates the growth of an ice dam."

SGI Canada has a number of tips to avoid ice dams on their website

"But the best thing to do is to use the roof rake. You don't have to rake all the way to the peak but if you get the 4-6 feet on to the roof, that will create conditions that will help prevent the forming of ice dams."

"Keep the snow load down. You should always keep the snow load on your roof to a minimum to prevent it from causing an ice dam. We don't recommend climbing on your roof yourself, there is a danger associated with that. You can use a roof rake or hire a professional to clear excess snow."

He also advises to clear out gutters and downspouts so water can drain freely. 

"Melting snow and icy water needs somewhere to go. Clean leaves out of your downspouts and gutters in the fall and dispose of ice, snow, and gunk regularly throughout the winter. Break off any icicles that develop on the roof of your home."

"It's a good idea to keep the air moving in your attic. Your attic needs good insulation and ventilation. Without it, the heat inside your home will leak into the attic and cause the snow off the roof to melt."

He also mentioned that shoveling snow away from your house foundation will prevent flooding. 

"Keeping snow away from your foundation and making sure your property grading allows for water runoff away from your home is one of the best ways you can protect your home and prevent seepage into your basement."

"Shovel snow away from your foundation. You want to make sure that when it melts, it melts and goes away from your home and doesn't travel down the outside of your wall and find its way into your home through any cracks you may have in your foundation."

He mentioned that making sure downspouts extend past 2 meters away from the house. 

"You don't want to have to replace flooring, appliances, TVs and anything else that might be in your basement."

He added that seepage is not generally covered by home insurance 

"A little bit of maintenance, a little bit of effort right now can help prevent some very big headaches from having your basement flooded or any problems involving water getting into your home."

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