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Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Let it Snow

I don't know what it is about snowfall that makes the ice dam leaks want to flow into and out of electrical sockets and lighting connections in my home, but I sure wish it would stop.  Tomorrow I have a professional coming to remove my ice dams to mitigate the problem.  I just couldn't keep up.  I don't have the equipment, the training, or the where-with-all to de-ice my roof myself.  And of course, I didn't do my gap assessment on the attic insulation on the new place because  I have no attic access (but I will soon).

I couldn't predict this would be a problem, because I couldn't even see the symptoms until too late.

Right now, I cannot even get inside to see where my problems really are, and what I need to do to fix it.  And of course, this is not really the most ideal time of the year to do some of the work necessary. Parts of it I already know ... the roof needs some work (that was figured out during the home inspection). Other parts are that this is (even for us), unseasonably snowy.

I've never had this problem before with other homes that I've lived in, how could it hit me now? 

Well, clearly I've lived in homes that have better insulation, or snow shedding characteristics.  This is a pretty well known problem. Ignoring the risk because I've never experienced the problem before isn't really an excuse.

According to various news sources, this is the 10th snowiest season on record. The average snowfall around here for the season is three feet.  We've had that in the last two weeks, and twice that in the last 6 weeks.  So, it was fairly predictable that I'd encounter a snowfall like this at least once living here.  Read on...

This is a once in a lifetime event, I couldn't be expected to protect against that, could I?

Well, actually, this is apparently a one in ten year event so far.  And I remember several similar snowfalls in the past two decades of living here.  So that excuse doesn't cut it.  Even if it did: A few years back my neighborhood suffered a once-in-a-century flooding.  Fortunately for me, I had a few basement tiles pop due to moisture, but others had fully flooded basements (two feet or more of water), causing thousands of dollars in damages.

I can't afford to protect against every risk!

A flood insurance policy covering building and contents that would have covered that kind of damage I just mentioned would cost something like $200 dollars per year.  The chance of a once in a century flood occurring in the ten 17 years I lived in that home is something like 1 in 6. Would a flood insurance policy have been worth it?  With 20-20 hindsight, I'd say, probably not, because even the once a century flood wasn't enough to cause me concern.  But assuming it was, it would have been worthwhile. And certainly was my immediate neighbors, on the North, South and East of me in my old neighborhood. They suffered several thousand dollars of damage, enough to easily cover the cost of insuring against flood.

Which would you rather have: a 100% chance of a $3000 expense or a 10% chance of a $30,000 dollar expense? They are approximately equally valued (the cost of money has some impact).  If the trigger for the $30,000 expense is going to have ripple effects, consider that as well.

Now, imagine if you will that instead of my home, I'm talking about a data center.  And instead of snow, I'm talking about a concerted attack against the data being stored there.

Who's whining now?