Ice dams causing severe water damage to homes

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HALLS, Tenn. (WVLT) -- As the snow melts away it might expose a bigger, more expensive problem for your home: water damage caused by an ice dam on the roof.

"(I) noticed that there was a spot on the wall and upon pulling the couch and the tables out the floor was wet," Andrew Graybeal said.

He discovered water destroying the sheet rock behind the walls on two floors, soaking the home's insulation, his garage ceiling and floor ruined, even his hardwood floor buckling.

It was all caused by an ice dam. They're not common in East Tennessee.

"It just happens with the cold temperatures. We're not prepared for it," said Tim Visser, the production manager for the Rocky Hill Servpro.

"The northern climates -- building codes are a little bit different. Down here in East Tennessee they're not as strict as they are in the northern states where they experience a lot of snow," he added.

An ice dam is when ice forms on the roof, around the gutter. So much water builds up that it back flows under the shingles and floods the home.

In Visser's eight years in East Tennessee, he said this is the first time people have called in about ice dam damage.

"If we open (Graybeal's) wall up currently, we're gonna let the water free-flow into the property," Visser said.

That's why he and his team at Rocky Hill Servpro is waiting for all the snow to melt and the fans to dry out all the water.

Then they're going to have to demolish the walls and see just how much it will ice Graybeal's budget.

"Coming into this, we never expected this kind of damage," Graybeal said.

If you're looking for a way to prevent an ice dam, Visser said take the leaf guard off your roof. That way the water flows smoother and it lessens the chance of freezing.