Be aware that the perils of damage due to ice and snow are not covered on your scheduled farm barns, buildings and structures unless you choose to add a special endorsement to your Farmowners insurance policy. If policyholders opt not to add this protection, it would be wise to at least include the endorsement that covers collapse of a roof due to the weight of ice, snow or sleet.
Preventing Roof Collapse
Disclaimer: The following suggestions have been provided by American Reliable Insurance Company (ARIC) as an example for informational purposes. ARIC makes no claim of being experts in any field other than insurance. You are advised to check with local, state, or federal authorities regarding codes or ordinances in your area.
Don’t let your risk pile up. Snowstorms have become more severe in recent years. According to NOAA/National Weather Service, the snowiest places in the Midwest get an average annual snowfall of almost 90 inches. With snow buildup also comes the possibility of a roof collapse.
How Much Snow or Ice Is Safe?
• It is difficult to say how much snow or ice is safe. It depends on the building design and weight of the snow or ice. In most cases, agricultural buildings will have an excessive snow load if there are more than 3-6 feet of snow on the roof.
• Excessive snow and ice followed by cold temperatures can create excessive snow loads. Monitor the snow load situation and take appropriate action.
What to Do If Your Building Has Excessive Snow: Excessive snow and ice followed by cold temperatures can create excessive snow loads. Monitor the snow load situation and take appropriate action. Before removing snow or entering the building, follow the steps below to check for signs of damage or structural failure:
Step 1: Look at sidewalls to see if there are any bulges or indications that knee braces have failed.
Step 2: Look at the roof-line to see if it is still straight.
Step 3: Look at the ceiling, open trusses, and walls for indications of damage or failure. If the building is safe, follow the snow removal tips below. If there are indications of building damage or failure, do not climb onto the roof or enter the building while the snow is on the roof.
Snow Removal Tips:
• Hire a professional who is trained in removing snow that will also help mitigate damage.
• Warm the inside of the building sufficiently with large heaters to melt the ice layer and then wait for the snow and ice to slide off the roof. The building must be an open-trussed structure (no flat ceiling) and have an uninsulated metal roof. Please use caution as large chunks of ice may slide off the roof. Note: Putting a heater in an attic of a building with a flat ceiling is not recommended because of the fire and carbon monoxide danger as well as the possibility of creating ice dams along the building’s eaves.
• Use snow rakes or specialty tools that can be used from the ground or from portable scaffolding. Use extreme caution when working near overhead electrical power lines and avoid excessive scraping against the roof. Note: These practices can damage the roof and lead to leaking.
All of the above timely tips are especially appropriate since much of the country is in the grip of extreme cold and record snow fall. Thinking back to one year ago in January 2017 when temperatures were near 60 degrees, we at Blue Bridle are already hoping for an early spring!