Preventing Ice Dams

As we head into a warm up – The Minnesota Department of Commerce has provided tips for dealing with Ice Dams. If you have any damage from ice buildup, call your Roundbank Insurance Agent to discuss your coverage.

Ice Dams: Helpful tips from the Minnesota Department of Commerce’s Home Energy Guide

February 15, 2021 | ConsumersEnergyInsurance

Ice dams are an unpleasant part of winter for many Minnesota homeowners.

The Minnesota Department of Commerce offers tips for how to deal with ice dams now and how to prevent them in the future, which can also save you money on your heating bills.

One way to prevent ice dams is by removing snow from your roof. While you can try to do it yourself with a snow rake, it may be best to hire a professional snow remover, especially if it takes getting on the roof or using a ladder. Put safety first.

If you have an ice dam that is already causing water damage to your interior ceilings and walls, hire a professional ice dam removal service that uses steamers.

A few things you should not do:

  • Do not install heating cables. They will shorten the life of your roof and add to your energy costs.
  • Do not remove ice with chippers, chemicals or heat. These can damage shingles, gutters and other building components.
  • Do not add roof vents, including powered vents. They will not eliminate ice dams and often make the problem worse.

Preventing future ice dams

Ice dams are not caused by roofing, ventilation or gutter problems, as often believed. The real problem is a home that is leaking warm air.

Due to inadequate air sealing, heat from the home’s interior gets into the attic and melts the underside of the snow on the roof. The melted snow water flows down the roof surface until reaching a cold spot, such as the eaves or soffit, where it forms a frozen dam.

Over time, especially with a snow-covered roof in subfreezing temperatures, more ice can build up. Eventually, water starts seeping into the home.

Because the primary cause of ice dams is warm air leaking from the attic, the best prevention is to seal leaks with caulking or expanding spray foam, with attic insulation installed to a minimum of R-50 as space allows.

Energy assessment: Save energy and prevent ice dams

An advanced home energy assessment, or audit, is an important step to preventing ice dams and making your home more energy efficient. The assessment will use equipment such as an infrared camera to find attic air leaks and how to seal them.

A home energy audit can be arranged through your local utility, a nonprofit energy group or an HVAC professional.

Once problem areas are detected, get bids from at least two licensed contractors to have the work done.

For more information on preventing ice dams, sealing air leaks and adding insulation, check out the Commerce Department’s Home Energy Guide.

Minnesota Energy Tips is provided twice a month by the Minnesota Department of Commerce, Division of Energy Resources. Contact the Commerce Department’s Energy Information Center at energy.info@state.mn.us or 800-657-3710 with energy questions.

Printable PDF, tips for dealing with ice dams: https://mn.gov/commerce-stat/pdfs/ice-dams.pdf 

With You Every Day

Wherever you are in Minnesota, the Department of Commerce is with you every day. Whether you’re filling up on gas, purchasing a home, working to reduce energy consumption or rebuilding after a disaster—we are with you, no matter what.

The Minnesota Department of Commerce oversees more than 20 regulated industries, ensuring that Minnesota businesses are strong and Minnesota consumers are protected. Our mission is to protect the public interest, advocate for Minnesota consumers, ensure a strong, competitive and fair marketplace, strengthen the state’s economic future and serve as a trusted public resource for consumers and businesses. Learn more at mn.gov/commerce

Contact: Mo Schriner
Director of Communications
E: mo.schriner@state.mn.us
O: 651-539-1463Permalink: http://mn.gov/commerce/media/news/index.jsp?id=17-467621

Winter Water Damage Prevention

Colder weather means snow, ice, and frozen pipes, One thing to keep an eye on once temperatures reach the freezing point is your exposed pipes and water lines. As freezing water expands into ice, the pressure can compromise the integrity of the pipe and pipe fittings, which often lead to cracked or burst pipes resulting in costly property damage. Here are a few helpful tips for preventing this type of loss.

Prevent frozen pipes and water damage:

  • First, identify areas of concern where water pipes are being exposed to cold temperatures.
  • Keep exposed pipes warm by wrapping them with UL-endorsed heat tapes that have built-in thermostat. Follow manufacturer’s instructions upon installation and whether or not additional insulation can be placed over the heat tape.
  • Insulate exposed water pipes from cold moving air using foam rubber insulation designed for pipes. Keep the foam dry as you insulate and check that there are no gaps between the pipe and the insulation. Secure corners of pipes with duct tape to cover any gaps. Insulation alone won’t prevent freezing, but will slow down the transfer rate of heat to cold.
  • Utilize UL-endorsed heat tapes for drain lines that go to cold air space. Don’t overlook water lines in cold basements, attics, or crawl spaces.
  • When there is a loss of power on cold days, open the tap to allow the water to run at a slow and constant drip. First, start a slow drip on the hot side of the faucet, then a faster drip on the cold side faucet.
  • Fill any drafty gaps or cracks near water pipes with caulk to prevent cold air from coming inside.
  • Do not turn off the heat or open windows during cold days; maintain a room temperature of 55 degrees or higher.

This Insurance Awareness, Helpful Hints and Tips Publication is brought to you by: North Star Mutual Insurance Company.

MNsure Special Enrollment Period

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

ST. PAUL, Minn..—Beginning Tuesday, February 16, MNsure will open a three-month special enrollment period to help any Minnesotan not currently enrolled through MNsure to secure health insurance coverage. This announcement follows the nationwide special enrollment period established by President Biden for those states who use healthcare.gov, the federally run health insurance marketplace. MNsure’s special enrollment period will run until Monday, May 17.

“If you are uninsured, or have coverage outside of MNsure, you can come to MNsure.org between February 16 and May 17 to enroll in a health insurance plan. COVID-19 is still with us, so having access to comprehensive health care coverage is critical at this time,” said MNsure CEO Nate Clark. “Not sure where to start? We have a statewide network of assisters who can help walk you through the process – just click on Find Free Help on our homepage.”

MNsure ran a similar special enrollment period for uninsured Minnesotans in March 2020 just after the start of the pandemic and enrolled nearly 10,000 Minnesotans into private health insurance coverage. In total, MNsure helped more than 24,500 Minnesotans secure health insurance coverage through a special enrollment period from the start of the pandemic through the end of 2020. Additionally, MNsure’s annual open enrollment period, which ended on December 22, 2020, saw an increased number of enrollments, nearly 20% of which were new to the marketplace.

This upcoming special enrollment period is another opportunity for uninsured Minnesotans, or those currently enrolled outside of MNsure, to sign up for comprehensive health care coverage. Eligible Minnesotans can also take advantage of cost-saving benefits available only through MNsure. Those who enroll during this time will have coverage that begins on the first day of the month following their sign-up date. For example, Minnesotans who sign-up for coverage in February will have a March 1 start date. Those who sign up in March will have coverage starting on April 1, and so on.

Please note: Minnesotans currently enrolled in health insurance coverage outside of MNsure should confirm their coverage options through MNsure before making changes to their current coverage.

Getting started

  • Compare plans side by side using MNsure’s plan comparison tool. Get estimates on premium costs, deductibles and more. Minnesotans can also use the tool to see if they qualify for financial help. Nearly half of current MNsure enrollees are receiving tax credits to lower the cost of their premiums, averaging almost $5,000 a year.
  • Set up a free appointment with a MNsure-certified assister. Virtual meeting options are available.

Year-round enrollment opportunities

In addition to this three-month special enrollment period, Minnesotans who experience a qualifying life event such as a loss of employer health insuranceloss of employer COBRA premium subsidy or decrease in income, may be eligible for a special enrollment period. These enrollment opportunities are available year-round to those who qualify. Minnesotans who qualify for Medical Assistance or MinnesotaCare or are a member of a federally recognized American Indian tribe can enroll any time of year. For Minnesotans new to MNsure, please find additional resources below:

MNsure is Minnesota’s health insurance marketplace where individuals and families can shop, compare and choose health insurance coverage that meets their needs. MNsure is the only place you can apply for financial help to lower the cost of your monthly insurance premium and out-of-pocket costs. Most Minnesotans who enroll through MNsure qualify for financial help.

Source: https://www.mnsure.org/news-room/news/