While the wintertime does bring along some pretty outdoor features like icicles, it’s important to realize the potential hazard they could provide for your home. Ice dams are created when your snow-covered roof freezes and refreezes to create a solid chunk of ice. This ice build-up on your eaves and can create major damage to your gutters, shingles, and roof if left untreated. Here are a few ways to prevent ice dams and how to get rid of them if they do form.
Prevention is the key to ensure that you don’t have any damage created by ice dams on your roof. Heated cables are a great option that can be installed before the winter hits. These cables attach to your roof with clips. Run the heated cable in a zigzag pattern along the entire edge of your roof. When cold weather hits, the heated cable will allow the ice to naturally thaw and the water will drip down into the gutters instead of freezing and causing a backup for other water trying to drip down your roof.
If you don’t have an aluminum roof rake, you can find them at your local hardware store. A roof rake has a long, extendable handle so that you can reach your roof without climbing up there on a ladder. From the ground you can use this rake to scrap the snow off of your roof. Eliminating some of the snow can help to prevent dams from forming and any further buildup of ice on the edge of your roof and gutters.
If it’s a warm winter day and the water is melting on your roof behind the ice dam, it’s inevitably going to make things much worse, especially if the water is going to refreeze overnight. To prevent this from happening, simply take a box fan or something similar into the attic. Aim the fan in the area of the roof where the water is melting. The idea is to blow cold air in the area of the roof so that you can freeze the water where it is. This will stop it from flowing down and adding onto the existing ice dam.
Throwing an ice melter compound onto your roof can damage your shingles. Instead, you want to keep the ice melter contained in a material like pantyhose. Fill up a pair of pantyhose with ice melter and position it on the roof. It should be laid from the gutter towards the top of the roof. This way, the pantyhose also provides a straight route for the melted ice water to run down to the gutter. You may need more than one pair to help with thick sheets of ice or for a larger roof. Use your roof rake rather than a ladder to help you position the pantyhose in the right place.
Ice dams can create some major damage if left untreated on a home. Your best means of protection is simply preventing the ice buildup in the first place. The above tips will help you to both prevent the ice buildup and remove it when ice dams form. Talk to your local roofing contractors for more help or info on what you can do to prevent ice dams and damage from ice dams.