Ice Dam Removal and Prevention Tips

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Ice dams are ice that forms on the bottom edge of your roof when water from melting snow freezes into ice. Icicles along the overhang of your home may have an attractive appeal, but they ultimately lead to damages in your home.

Icicles are by-products of ice dams that are dangerous to the longevity of your home. Without proper care, ice dams can detach roof drains, slacken shingles, and cause water to back up and leak into one’s home by preventing melting snow from draining off the roof.

Water penetration from ice dams can prompt the development of mold and mildew. This can cause respiratory issues, peeling off paint, twisted floors, damaged home insulation, and stained walls.

Knowing how to recognize when ice dams are forming and the methods of ice dam removal is essential for shielding your home from potential harm during winter months. Below are some removal and prevention tips that can save you a lot of money in repairs if put to
use.

Prevention Tips
Here are some prevention tips to note regarding ice dams:

1. Provide Ventilation Under the Roof Deck

Ice dams are formed when the snow melts on the upper and hotter part of a roof. This often causes meltwater to run down towards the colder region on the lower eaves where it freezes. The result is a blockage that stops melted snow from flowing off the rooftop.

Homes with good attic or roof base ventilation usually don’t experience ice dams. This is because the cold air circulating under the roof deck ensures that the base of the roof doesn’t get excessively warm to melt the snow on the surface.

Providing adequate ventilation for your attic is a good method to prevent roof dams before ice dams start. One of the methods that can be used to improve attic ventilation is the soffit-and- ridge vent system where spaces between rafters are insulated.

2. Heat Insulation and Blockage
This prevents warm air from going up to the attic space. It’s an efficient method to lower temperatures against the roof deck.

Adding insulation to the attic floor keeps the heat in living spaces where it belongs. Thus, preventing the attic’s temperature from rising to the point where it can melt snow lying on the roof.

Having your attic insulated can still leave other openings that can contribute to increasing the temperature of the attic space. Sealing air channels and gaps around plumbing pipes and chimneys can block a significant amount of heat flow into the attic.

3. Keep Your Roof Gutters Clean
When there’s an obstruction to the flow of melted snow, ice dams can easily form. By cleaning your roof gutter of any dirt, like falling leaves, before the snow arrives, you can help prevent ice dams, as snow have nowhere to go when the gutters are clogged.

Preventive efforts are the best method to avoid the damage caused by an ice dam. If you failed to employ any before winter and are battling with serious ice dams, there are methods you can employ to reduce or eliminate them.

Removal Tips
Some of the ice dam removal tips to consider are discussed below:

1. Chipping Off The Ice.
Once icicles start to form on the roof eaves, it’s an indication that ice dams have been formed. Climbing onto the roof isn’t advised, but you can reduce the effects of the ice dams by chipping off some ice at the edges to allow melted water to flow through.

One shortfall of this method is that it requires frequent work with a chisel or ice pick. As the snow builds up, it’ll repeatedly block the channel you cut previously.

2. Use Calcium Chloride and Other Deicers
Deicers help hasten the process of channeling the ice dam. Calcium chloride is one of the most preferred deicers. This is because of its ability to remain potent in extremely low temperatures, ability to generate heat while melting ice amongst other advantages.

These substances achieve these by melting the ice to create a path for the liquefied snow to flow. They must be chosen carefully to ensure safety on your home’s sidewalk. The priority is to have a non-reactive solution when the deicer reacts with snow.

3. Using Roof Rakes

Roof rakes are long metal tools used to lighten the snow burden on the roof of a building. It’s highly suitable for flat roofs but might affect pitched roofs badly if not done with care.

Safety should also be made a priority when making use of a roof rake so that when you lighten the load on the roof, you don’t bring them onto the wrong landing area in the process.

image source shutterstock

Conclusion:

Prevent and Remove Ice Dams On Your Roof Stopping ice dams from forming on your roof at all can save you hundreds of dollars in repair.
Some of the best ways to prevent them have been discussed in this article.

If ice dams have started to form on your roof, you can also use the above tips as quick solutions to remove it. To deal better with the quite troublesome issue of ice dams you can also get more information on what works in your particular location.


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