Property Damage & Disaster Restoration Blog: Long Island & New York City

New York Homeowners Beware: After Snow, the Ice Dam Cometh

Posted on Fri, Feb 04, 2011 @ 01:52 PM

Written by 

Gwendolyn Bounds

for The Wall Street Journal

new york,long island,ice dam,water damage,freezing,water,leak damage,leak,roof,collapseThe latest winter storm, coupled with heavy snow accumulation and long cold snaps across the U.S., have left homeowners, pedestrians and buildings themselves unusually vulnerable to the dangers of ice and snow buildup.

Well beyond slipping, there's a growing risk of injury from falling material. Recently, a chunk of ice plunged from a pine tree and landed on Mark D'Ambrosio as he cleared the driveway of his of Abington, Mass., home. His son called 911, and Mr. D'Ambrosio was hospitalized briefly with a head wound that required three staples.

"I've been in this house 13 years and never seen anything like what's happening this winter," says the 39-year-old Mr. D'Ambrosio.

Other times, the danger comes from homeowners trying to clear roofs of winter's mess before it causes structural damage.

While roof collapses get the most attention, a more common worry for the average homeowner is ice dams. These often form when an under-insulated home's heat escapes through the attic, warms the roof and melts snow. As water runs down the roof it can refreeze into an icy dam along the overhang, which is cooler—much like a bridge.

If the dam gets big enough, it can then block water from running off the roof and force it to back up under shingles, triggering leaks and other damage. Icicles are one symptom of dams forming.

As snow and ice storms pummel the Northeast, Midwest and South this week, consumers are trying to remove snow however they can. Sales of roof rakes—long-handled tools used from the safety of ground level—are up 30% at Garelick Manufacturing Co., which went back into production this month to meet demand. Northern Tool + Equipment Co. cites unusually strong demand for its hockey puck-sized RoofMelt tablets made of calcium chloride, which can be tossed atop roofs to fuel melting.

Businesses specializing in ice-cutting with pressurized steam or hot water and other solutions report a surge of interest. Bylin Heating Systems Inc. has logged a 200% rise in inquiries this winter for its electrical ice-melting roof systems, which are best installed after existing dams are cleared. Similar demand is brewing for installers of attic insulation and other products that prevent heat loss and slow ice dam formation.

Tom Mahoney's 8,000 square foot house in Edina, Minn., was damaged after a thick ice dam formed along his roofline and triggered water leaks in his master bedroom. His solution: pay $1,000 to have chunks of the ice removed professionally.

Mr. Mahoney's contractor, Philip Grave of Dale Services Inc., says he and his brother are on track to earn $100,000 this winter as roof ice-cutters. The duo, who operate a carpet and window-cleaning business in warmer weather, charge $250 to $300 an hour to climb on roofs and slice away at ice dams with 180-200 degree water using a pressure washer-type system. Says Mr. Grave: "We cut ice every day in December and had a wait list."

But with so much snow, residents often are taking drastic short-term actions themselves. In Minnesota, where some areas have received more than 55 inches so far, a Shoreview man died Christmas Day after falling from his roof clearing snow. Meantime, Immanuel St. Joseph's hospital in Mankato has logged a surge of emergency room visits from people injured toppling off their rooftops while shoveling, says hospital spokesman Kevin Burns.

"It's directly attributable to the increased snow," says Mr. Burns who reports everything from scrapes and bruises to broken bones and serious internal injuries. "People are very well-intentioned but aren't prepared for the slippery conditions and steep pitch of the surface."

Last week in New York City, which had its snowiest January in history, the Department of Buildings issued a warning reminding property owners they are legally obligated to remove ice and snow from roofs, overhangs and awnings—and singled out icicles as "a threat to public safety."

A growing number of new homes are built with thicker insulation that can help prevent ice dams, including more than a million new homes that have earned the federal government's Energy Star label, and there are tax credits and subsidies available for retrofits.

"Most of the time, the ice is there and you are rolling the dice and may or may not have a big chunk hit someone's car or head, or a leak, but the risk is always there," says Mike Rogers, vice president of GreenHomes America Inc., a national home energy retrofit company.

When 51-year-old April Butler of Syracuse, N.Y., moved into her home in December, she wasn't aware that her house was at risk. But soon, dams and icicles hung like a cave around her front door, threatening to pull down her gutters and possibly harming a passer-by, including her 17-year-old daughter.

Ms. Butler hired GreenHomes America last week to blow insulation into her attic crawl space, seal air-leaks with foam and replace recessed ceiling light fixtures where the home's heat was escaping.

All these measures are designed to prevent ice dams from forming in the first place; much of what she has now is beginning to thaw.

The total cost: $7,062, for which she received a $2,500 subsidy based on her income as a teaching assistant from the Assisted Home Performance with Energy Star program.

"As of yet, we've had no leak damage," Ms. Butler says. "Hopefully this will eliminate the fear."

Write to Gwendolyn Bounds at [email protected]

Tags: homeowner, water damage, new york, water, ice dam, leak damage, roof

Do You Have Water or Wind Damage?

Posted on Sun, Mar 14, 2010 @ 10:31 PM

24 Hour Emergency Water Removal, tarping, and Cleanup Services

One of the worst things that can happen is having a pipe break or water heater malfunction that causes a water intrusion to flood your basement or saturate your home or office.  Advanced Restoration's Disaster and Emergency Response Time minimizes  damage that can be caused by a flood.  Our water extraction services have assisted many homes and business throughout Long Island and New York City.  We extract water due to:

Advanced Restoration Corporation  is a DKI Member Company

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Flooding Rains Will Soak New York, New Jersey and Long Island

Posted on Thu, Mar 11, 2010 @ 08:32 PM

March 11 (Bloomberg) -- A slow-moving storm will drop as much as 4 inches (10 centimeters) of rain on New York City starting tonight and lasting until next week, according to the National Weather Service.

Manhattan is forecast to receive about 3.5 inches, while other parts of the city may get a half-inch more, said Joe Pollina, a weather service meteorologist in Upton, New York.

"We do expect some urban flooding," Pollina said by telephone. "The city and parts of Long Island could see ponding on roadways, with roads closed due to flooding."

Flood watches and warnings extend from Long Island to Indiana, according to the weather service. Rivers and streams across the region, including Connecticut, the lower Hudson River valley and New Jersey, could swell their banks, Pollina said.

"It just seems to be a rather slow-moving storm," Pollina said. "It is just hanging around. Rain will start tonight, continuing through Sunday and we even have showers forecast through Monday. It doesn't dry out until Tuesday."

--Editors: Charlotte Porter, David Marino

To contact the reporter on this story: Brian K. Sullivan in Boston at [email protected]

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Dan Stets at [email protected]

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Disaster Mitigation...Buying Insurance

Posted on Thu, Jun 18, 2009 @ 01:49 PM

DISASTER MITIGATION... BUYING INSURANCE
By Chris Floyd Disaster Services Director Capital Area Chapter American Red Cross

Even with adequate time to prepare for a disaster, you still may suffer significant, unavoidable damage to your property. That's when insurance for renters or homeowners can be a big help. Yet, many people affected by recent disasters have been underinsured- or worse- not insured at all. Make sure the insurance you buy protects against the perils you face.

If You Own a Home...

  • Buy, at minimum, full replacement or replacement cost coverage. This means the structure can be replaced up to the limits specified in the policy.
  • Investigate buying a guaranteed replacement cost policy. When and where available, these policies can pay to rebuild your house, including improvements, at today's prices, regardless of the limits of the policy.
  • Have your home periodically reappraised to be sure the policy reflects the real replacement cost.
  • Update the policy to include any home improvements, such as basement refinishing. Annual automatic increases may not be enough to cover these.
  • Buy a policy that covers the replacement cost of your possessions. Standard coverage only pays for the actual cash value (replacement cost discounted for age or use).
  • Be very clear about what the policy will and will not cover, and how the deductibles work (the part you pay before the policy pays).
  • Check state-operated or federally operated insurance pools if you find it difficult to obtain private coverage because of a recent disaster. Premiums often run higher than market rates, but this is better than no coverage.
  • Conduct a home inventory, make a list, and use it to check that your policy's coverage matches the value of your possessions.

If You Rent...

  • Buy renter's insurance, which pays for damaged, destroyed, or stolen personal property. Your landlords insurance wont cover damage to or loss of your possessions. Also, consider special coverage like flood insurance for your belongings.
  • Be clear about what a policy will cover. Some policies cover more than others. For example, will the policy pay for living expenses if you have to live somewhere else temporarily, or for damage from sewer backup?
  • Comparison shop for the best coverage at the best price. Policies vary from company to company. Policies in most areas are very affordable. Start with the company that insures your car. Discounts are often available if you carry more than one policy with a company.

You may also want to consider special coverage as insurance for renters and homeowners won't cover certain types of losses. Ask your insurance agent or financial planner about special or additional coverage for floods, earthquakes, home offices, and other potential problems.


Advanced Restoration Corporation is a full-service property damage/disaster restoration company that has been serving Long Island and the New York metropolitan area for over 20 years.

The company offers the highest quality residential, commercial and industrial property restoration and remediation services available. Our qualified and professional staff is capable of handling all aspects of fire & smoke damage, mold remediation and water damage. Emergency response teams are available 24/7 to promptly execute the required services for a customer.

Advanced Restoration is a member of multiple industry associations, including NYARM, BOMA, PIA, YIP, IICRC, NARI, NIDR and RIA. We are licensed in Nassau and Suffolk County, as well as the five boroughs of New York City.

Please contact Gary Matzelle at (516) 903-4107 with any questions, or send an email to [email protected] Our corporate website can be viewed at www.advancedrestoration.com.

Tags: disaster, property damage, water damage, water damage restoration, insurance, flood insurance, advanced restoration, homeowner tips, restoration company, flood damage, storm damage, water

Going Green Around the Holidays

Posted on Tue, Dec 09, 2008 @ 03:19 PM

Every day, more and more Long Island businesses and homeowners are "going green" in order to provide a healthier environment for residents of Nassau & Suffolk County.

The world has a fixed amount of natural resources, some of which are already depleted. So as population growth greatly strains our finite resources, there are fewer resources available. If we intend to leave our children with the same standard of living we have today, we must preserve the foundation of that standard of living. Saving clean air, water, fuel sources and soil for future generations is essential, and everyone needs to start thinking green.

Some of the greatest threats to future resources come from things we throw away everyday. Household batteries and electronics often contain dangerous chemicals that may, if sent to a local landfill, leak through the bottom barrier and pollute the groundwater. This can contaminate everything from the soil in which our food grows, to the water which will eventually come out of aquifers and into our tap water. Many of these chemicals cannot be removed from the drinking water supply, nor from the crops that are harvested from contaminated fields. The risks to human health are tremendous and educating the public will help to alleviate those risks.

Simple ways to increase the energy efficiency of a home during the building or remodeling process include:

Lights
Turn off unnecessary lights , indoors and outdoors, to conserve electricity. Install lighting timers or sensors to automatically turn off lights when not needed.

High-Efficiency Heating/Cooling System
Installing high efficiency heating and cooling equipment also conserves electricity. Use programmable thermostats to minimize energy use, especially when no one is home.

High-Efficiency Windows and Appliances
High-efficiency windows reduce heating and cooling costs by minimizing the impact the outside environment has on a home.

Low-Water Consumption Fixtures
Low-consumption or dual-flush toilets, low-consumption or waterless urinals, and low-flow bathroom, sink and shower faucets all help to reduce water use.

Fluorescent Bulbs
Using compact, fluorescent bulbs use less power and last longer than conventional bulbs.

Advanced Restoration recently joined various green organizations and is looking to explore green relationships in New York with other business entities.

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