Preventing damage to home during winter months

It won’t be long before snow starts to fall and we will be in winter’s grasp. In 2010 and 2011, the U-S received near record amounts of snowfall that caused $1.1-billion in insured losses and more than $2-billion in total losses, according to the National Climatic Data Center. Julie Rochman is president and CEO of the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety and is a Nebraska native. She says for the most part those who live in the Midwest know the drill and take the necessary precautions to protect homes, buildings and other property.
This past summer, hail storms pummeled areas of Nebraska and Iowa damaging roofs. With the amount of repairs that need to be done, contractors will not be able to start reroofing projects before the snow flies. Rochman says if your home has roof damage that isn’t going to be repaired before winter make sure you cover any weak area with plywood and leaks with plastic or a tarp.
Rochman says roofs can only hold so much snow. Most roofs can support 20 pounds per square foot. Many homes in the Midwest can support 40 to 70 pounds per square foot. If there is 10 to 12 inches of fresh snow on a roof, that equals to about five pounds per square foot of pressure on the roof. Three to five inches of packed snow is about the same. Once snow turns to ice and packs down, the more weight per square foot.
 
Rochman says a roof rake is a safe way to remove snow by keeping your feet safely on the ground. She says getting the extra snow off will prevent ice build up that blocks water from draining off the roof and forces the water under the roof covering into attics or down the side walls of the house. She says keeping the attic well ventilated and insulated can prevent these ice dams from forming.