Winter weather meltdown: PEMCO's tips to prepare for thawing snow



​​​SEATTLE — As temperatures rise and rain showers are expected to return to Western Washington, residents may soon be dealing with threats of flooding and water damage from large amounts of melting snow and ice. PEMCO Insurance reminds homeowners there are steps you can take to prevent water damage and avoid expensive repairs:

  • Remove large accumulations of snow from areas where it could melt and enter your home.  Shovel snow away from the perimeter of your home.  Also consider clearing decks, patios, and driveways that slope toward the home.

  • Clean snow and debris from ground drains. Make sure drains near your home, typically around the driveway, are free and clear from blockages.  Ice and compact snow can create dams that keep water from properly draining.

  • Consider where snow will go when it melts. The combination of melting snow plus rain can create extreme runoff.  When shoveling snow on your property, be mindful of which direction it will drain when it melts.  You may want to consider digging channels to divert water to the nearest drain.

  • Keep your thermostat at 65 degrees or warmer.  It may seem like common sense, but now is not the time to save on your heating bill.  When the heat in your home rises to the ceiling, it helps to melt rooftop snow and prevent ice dams from forming.  Unobstructed gutters and drains prevent water from backing up and entering your home.  

  • Do not get on a ladder and do not attempt to climb onto your roof to remove snow. If you see the snow melting and dropping off the edge of your roof, that’s a good sign.  It indicates ice dams are probably not developing. In extreme circumstances, if ice dams need to be removed from your gutters, call a professional specializing in this service.

“Keep thinking ahead and using common sense when it comes to preventing water or other damages from this winter storm,” said Jon Osterberg, PEMCO spokesperson.  “At the first sign of dampness inside your home, call immediately for professional help before long-term damages set in.”

About PEMCO Insurance

PEMCO Insurance, established in 1949, is a Seattle-based provider of auto, home, boat, life, and umbrella insurance to Washington state residents. PEMCO Insurance is sold by community agents throughout the state and through PEMCO offices. For more information, visit