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5 Ways to Effectively Remove Ice Dams

Posted by: Chris Laney on March 5, 2019

5 Ways to Effectively Remove Ice Dams

Winters in Northern Indiana bring about large amount of heavy snow and ice. As the winter weather gathers on your home's rooftop, ice dams can begin to form as a result of poor insulation and ventilation.

Ice dams form when a roof is warm enough to melt the lower level of snow on the roof, causing the melted water to flow until it reaches an eave or a pitch. Since this area of your roof is not exposed to the sunlight it remains cool – the perfect place for the water to re-freeze. Eventually, this causes a mound of ice gathered in the corner of your roof.

With enough ice buildup comes a big problem when the ice begins to melt. The water can begin to seep underneath the shingles of your roof, and eventually into the insulation and interior of your home. This could just be the beginning of the trouble – if an ice dam breaks free, it can pull down shingles and even gutters, taking anything in its path down with it.

Removing Ice Dams

The best way to remove an ice dam from your roof is to avoid one completely. However, this is not always possible – and once an ice dam is formed, dealing with an existing problem becomes priority number one.

  1. Use heated cables. Cables are a quick way to start melting the ice and getting rid of it quickly and easily. Place the cables in a zig zag pattern vertically across your roof before the first snow fall, which will cause the snow and ice to melt before it freezes and causes an ice dam. While cables are easily attached to the roof through clips and a little ladder work, the biggest issue is getting them installed before the weather hits.
  2. Since ice dams are caused by the hot air from your roof melting the snow, fight against it by blowing cold air through your attic. Install fans inside your attic and blow them directly at the problem areas of your roof. This will keep the roof cold and the snow from melting in the first place!
  3. Another great way to remove ice dams quickly from your roof is to rake away the snow before it begins melting. While this requires a little more work than fans and heated wires, it is effective way to prevent ice dams in the valleys of your roof!
  4. To begin the snow removal, start with a rake specifically made to remove snow from roofs. These are sold at your local hardware stores, and will typically come on wheels, to protect the shingles of your home. The rake should be long enough to remove the snow from the safety of the ground, so don't worry about getting on a ladder! Use this after each snowfall, and you one step closer to preventing ice dams from forming on your roof!
  5. Another great way to safely remove ice dams is by using a chemical deicer. One thing to note about this route – any plants that are exposed to this chemical for long periods of time, will die from over exposure. To use this technique, fill an nylon stocking (strange, but it works!) with calcium chloride. Throw the stocking on your roof so it lands perpendicular to your roof's edge. Using a rake or the handle of a broom can be a great way to ensure the placement is correct. Once the nylon is in place, you will notice the ice dams start to disappear!
  6. Call a professional. While the tips above a great ways to remove ice dams quickly from the roof of your home, overall prevention is the number one way to ensure ice dams do not cause damage to your home. A professional can help ventilate your home correctly, preventing ice dams before they form.

If your home has already been hit by the effects of an ice dam, and water damage has creeped into your attic, the water restoration team at Water Out is ready to help restore your home back to normal. Our skilled and trained crews are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to help with emergency services, and will respond within 60 minutes of your initial phone call.

While water damage can be frustrating, don't let it before more of a problem than necessary. Call the professionals at Water Out today and let us deal with the clean up.