How To Remove Ice Dams

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Ice dams, which are caused by melted snow that re-freezes on your roof, can be very damaging to your roofing structure. They can cause damage to your roofing shingles, the gutter, and the downspouts. They look like large pieces of ice or icicles and can cause cracking of the roof, which then leads to a leak inside your home and even more problems. Here are some tips to remove ice dams before they cause severe damage.

Remove Ice Dams

There are a few different methods you can use to remove ice dams from your roof. The first is to stand on the ground and get a long rake, knocking down the ice dams. This only works if your roof edge is relatively low and the rake's handle is long enough to get to them. If you have large gutters and cannot access the ice dams without damaging the gutter, you need to get onto your roof. Since there may be snow and ice on your roof, be very careful. Use the rake to knock the ice dams off the roof. You can also cut a channel into the ice directly, which lets any standing water drain out.

The other option is to melt the ice by using calcium chloride. Fill a nylon stocking with the calcium chloride and put it on the ice dam in a vertical direction. You want it to melt a channel through the dam so the water can drip down the gutters and into your drainage system. Be careful how you position it and that you not use rock salt, as this can damage your roof even more.

What to do After a Storm

If you do not yet have ice dams formed, but a snow storm has hit, don't wait until you have dams that you need to remove. You can prevent them by removing the snow from your roof promptly. Every time you have a snow storm, get outside and remove as much snow from your roof as you can. A roof rake is safe enough to get the snow off your roof. Never let the snow get more than a few feet, or you're going to increase the ice dams that form. You can also prevent ice dams by keeping your downspouts clean.

Further Prevention of Ice Dams

Aside from these short-term things you can do to prevent an ice dam, you should also think about long-term solutions. Insulating your attic should be to priority, because it prevents the heat from your attic from reaching the roof and melting ice prematurely. This is exactly what causes the ice dams to form, as they melt, drip to the edge of your roof, then re-freeze. Aside from insulating your attic, you can also prevent ice dams by having a water-repellent membrane installed. This will be installed underneath your shingles, so don't bother with it until you're ready to have a new roof installed. Contact a roofing company like Di Roma Home Improvements for more information.

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