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Homeowners Guide to Ice Dam Removal: Tips, Tricks, & More

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I think we all need to take a moment and admit that these months just before spring arrives? They can be a tough time to be a homeowner.

The late winter months can wreak havoc on the exterior of your home. This is a time of year when temperatures are constantly changing, and you may find that there is a lot of melting and refreezing going on outside of your front door.

Your roof is particularly vulnerable during this time from a sneaky culprit. That’s right. We’re talking about ice dams.

Ice dams are a common roofing problem that many homeowners allow to go untreated. While you may not notice it at first, you could be setting your home up for some serious damage in the future!

If you are ready to:

  • Learn why ice dams form
  • Learn how to remove them
  • Stop ice dams once and for all

You’ve come to the right place! Today, we’ll be talking about all things related to ice dam removal.

What Is an Ice Dam?

ice dam removal determining damages

You might have heard the term ‘ice dam’ before without really knowing what it means. But you’ve certainly seen one. You know the chain of icicles that form at the edge of a roof? Those aren’t just a pretty winter phenomenon but rather a side effect of ice dam formation.

Ice dams form after a heavy snowfall when snow piles up on your roof. Because heat rises, warm air leaks out from your attic roof, which begins to melt snow. However, as this water trickles down your roof, it cools and refreezes, forming a dam. As melting snow continues to travel downward, it gets trapped behind the ice, forming a pool of water on your roof.

What Are the Dangers of an Ice Dam?

Icicles may look beautiful, but the problem they are disguising can have serious consequences for your home. Here are just a few of the risks that come with leaving an ice dam untreated.

  • Roof Leaks – One of the biggest concerns for homeowners is developing a roof leak inside of their homes. This is a very real possibility if your ice dam is left untreated. After all, it is easy for that standing water to wear down your roofing system and get through the layers of your roof.
  • Broken Gutters – As more and more ice accumulates at the edge of your roof, you will likely find that your gutters begin to be clogged with ice. Not only does this mean that they cannot work properly, but it also means that they will be holding a significant amount of weight. It is not uncommon for gutters to break off completely.
  • Icicles – As we’ve mentioned, icicles aren’t just a beautiful winter decoration. They are indicating a serious problem. But even more than that, they can pose a safety risk for you and your family. As icicles melt, they can break off and fall, which could injure people or property.
  • Cave Ins – While it may sound extreme, an ice dam can put your roof at risk of caving in. Not only does it weaken the existing structure of your roof, but it also adds a significant amount of weight that can lead to serious roof damage.

How to Remove an Ice Dam

ice dam removal installing heated wires on roof

After hearing about the potential risks, we wouldn’t blame you if you are immediately ready to tackle your ice dams. However, there is definitely a “right” and “wrong” way to remove ice dams from your roof. In order to get rid of ice dams properly, follow these steps.

Dos:

  • Melt The Ice – The safest way to remove ice dams from your roof is to use warm water to melt the ice that has accumulated. The easiest way to do this is to hook a long hose to a hot water tap (homeowners often use the tap in their laundry room sink). You can then run the hose outside and carefully climb up onto a ladder. You will then let the hot water run over the built-up ice and melt it. This method takes patience but is the safest option for your roof.
  • Invest in Calcium Chloride – Just like salt can melt the snow and ice on your driveway, it can do the same thing for your roof! If you cannot melt the ice with water, you also have the option to fill a pair of pantyhose with a calcium chloride salt mixture and place it at the edge of your roof in order to keep ice from forming.
  • Heated Wires – If you are tired of dealing with reoccurring ice dams, you may want to consider investing in heated wires. These wires lay at the edge of your roof and ensure that ice cannot form.

‍♀️ Don’ts:

  • Chop the Ice – When you are in a pinch, you may be tempted to take a hammer and chisel and start hacking away at the ice. However, you run the risk of causing serious damage to your roof and gutters. We highly recommend avoiding this method at all costs! Doing it may cause you to spend more money on roof repairs in the long run.

How to Prevent Ice Dams

The easiest way to deal with ice dams is to stop them from occurring in the first place. Preventing ice dams does require some thought and work, but it will save you years of removing ice dams in the future.

There are a few different strategies you can use to prevent ice dams.

  • Adding Insulation – Ice dams develop when hot air is escaping from your roof. The best way to combat this is to add more insulation to your roof. While this is a more expensive fix, it is the one with the best success rate.
  • Shovel Roof – Investing in a roof rake can help you avoid a huge headache in the future. Shoveling the snow off of your roof before it melts is one of the most effective ways to avoid an ice dam.
  • Roof Inspections – Getting a professional roof inspection will help you identify any weak spots in your roof that may be susceptible to ice dam damage.

Protect Your Home From Ice Dams

Are you ready to solve your ice dam problem once and for all? Dreamworx can help! Our expert roofers have the experience needed to find workable solutions for you and your home. Let us help you get rid of those pesky ice dams with a free roof inspection. Contact us today to schedule yours!

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