Keep an eye out for the white stuff – and ice dams

(Feb. 15, 2012) — There's nothing like a snowstorm to lift the spirits of children, and some adults as well. But there's also a down side to a winter wonderland: rooftop ice dams that can cause serious damage to your home.

Ice dams can occur after periods of heavy snowfall, followed by temperatures that hover near freezing. They form when melting snow runs down the slope of the roof and refreezes near the edge. As more snow melts and runs down the roof, water builds up behind the ice dam and seeps into the home, damaging drywall, carpeting and cabinets; and sometimes even collapsing ceilings.

Fortunately, there are some easy and effective measures homeowners can take to prevent ice dams from forming:

Based in Madison, Wis., American Family Insurance offers auto insurance, homeowners insurance, life insurance, health insurance, business and farm/ranch insurance in 19 states. American Family Mutual Insurance Company is the nation's third-largest mutual property/casualty insurance company. Web: www.amfam.com; Facebook: www.facebook.com/amfam; Twitter: www.twitter.com/amfam.