As a passerby with no knowledge of how damaging ice dams could be, you probably get astonished by the sight of a white, long icicle precariously hanging from a roof. It’s only natural to feel that way, but, in reality, that seemingly beautiful decoration could be causing significant problems to your home.
Luckily, there are ways you can prevent ice dams from forming. If you already have them, you can easily get rid of them without harming yourself.
What is an Ice Dam?
It is a rim of ice that forms on the edge of a roof during frigid weather, preventing melting snow from draining off the roof. The water that backs up behind the dam can leak into your home and cause damage, like stained ceilings, ruined insulation, and warped floors.
Can Ice Dams be Prevented?
The best way to deal with an ice dam is to prevent it from happening in the first place. Here’s how you can do that:
1. Keep Your Gutters Clean:
Clogged gutters can’t do their job of funnel water away from your home. When they’re clogged, water backs up and can freeze, leading to an ice dam. So, clean your gutters regularly, especially in the fall before leaves have a chance to clog them up.
2. Insulate Your Attic:
A well-insulated attic will help keep your home warm and your bills low. When there is no heat escape, the warm air will stay in your living space where it belongs. It will also prevent heat from rising into your attic and melting the snow.
3. Seal Any Cracks:
Any cracks in your home’s exterior need to be sealed. These can let heat escape, melt the snow on your roof and cause an ice dam. You can seal cracks yourself with caulk or hire a professional to do it for you.
How to Get Rid of Ice Dams?
Sadly, despite all your efforts and preventative measures, you may still have an ice dam. If this happens, don’t despair.
While you may be thinking that removing the ice dams is as simple as chipping away at them with an ice pick or some other sharp object, that’s not the best solution.
What is a more suitable solution? Let’s explore.
1. Use a Roof Rake:
A roof rake is a long tool that allows one to reach the snow on your roof and remove it without putting yourself in danger. You can find a roof rake at most hardware stores or online.
2. Apply Heat:
It’s ice, after all, so applying heat is a logical solution.
You can use a hairdryer, heat lamps, an infrared heater, or even towels soaked in hot water. Please do not use anything with an open flame!
You must also ensure you don’t heat your shingles, which could bring a whole new set of problems. Be sure to direct the heat onto the ice dam and not the roof itself.
3. Pour Hot Water:
It is a temporary solution that will cause the ice to melt and break up, allowing the water to flow off your roof.
You can do this from inside your house – just be sure you have a bucket big enough to catch the runoff!
4. Use De-Icing Salt:
It is a popular solution, and you can find de-icing salt at most hardware stores.
You’ll need to apply the salt directly to the ice dam, which can be tricky. The best way to do that is to use a ladder, but there are other ways if you’re not comfortable doing that. You can try using a long pole to apply it to the dam.
Berlet Roofing, your trusted contractor in Avon, is here to help you with any of your roofing needs.
We’ve got you, whether you’re looking for a complete roof replacement or want a surefire way of removing ice dams.