How to Remove Ice Dams from your Roof

How to Remove Ice Dams from your Roof

A snowy winter is a beautiful sight, but snow buildup and icicles can damage your roof and gutters. Check out these tips on how to prevent and remove ice dams from your roof before the damage is done.

What Is An Ice Dam?

An ice dam is a buildup of ice that forms along the edge of your roof and prevents snow and water from draining properly. This is most commonly caused by melting snow on your roof due to heat escaping from your attic. This water travels down the warm roof, then refreezes when temperatures drop, most likely at night, to form an ice dam at the ends of your roof.

Although icicles hanging from your roof is a pretty decoration, it can cause some serious damage, so it’s best to stick to icicle lights.

What Damage Can They Cause?

If this melting and refreezing process continues throughout the winter season, there is a good chance of water working its way under your roof’s shingles, facia board and flashing and into your attic. Leaking from the ceiling or mold and mildew buildup are both indicators of damage due to ice damming.

A heavy buildup of ice sitting on your gutters puts a lot of strain on your gutter system. Ice dams can grow to be pretty big and heavy, and there is a chance of your gutters breaking off from your roof as a result.

Gutters that are frozen and clogged add a significant amount of weight to the gutters, that can cause gutters to pull away from the home creating additional problems.

How to Remove an Ice Dam

Seeing ice buildup along your roof’s edge may prompt you to grab a shovel and start hacking away at the ice. This can cause serious damage to both your gutters and your roof’s shingles. Not to mention, there is also a risk of falling or injuring yourself by doing this. If you find your home with an ice dam, here’s what you can do about it.

Blow Cold Air Through Your Attic

Because ice dams are caused by melting snow on your roof, use a box fan to cool your attic where you see an ice dam issue. That will help refreeze that part of the roof until Mother Nature naturally warms the entire roof.

Using a Melting Agent

Melt the ice dam by filling a panty hose with an ice melt product. Using a long rake, position the pantyhose onto the roof so that it crosses the ice dam and overhangs the gutter. The ice melt will stay contained but create a channel for meltwater to flow down and off the roof.

Clear Snow Early From Your Roof

Specially designed roof rakes, which have wheels to prevent shingle damage, can be used to pull snow off your roof with an aim at preventing an ice dam.

Here’s How to Prevent Ice Dams

The temperature outside should melt snow off your roof, not heat that is escaping from your home. Here are some things that cause heat to escape from your roof which can lead to ice damming on your roof.

Improve Your Home’s Insulation

If your home is older, there is a good chance your insulation system isn’t running as efficiently as it should. This can contribute heavily to the buildup of ice dams. Have your insulation’s R-Value checked by a Thompson Creek professional to ensure that heat isn’t escaping through your roof.

Provide Adequate Attic Ventilation

Attic ventilation provides the important air circulation to release warm air from your attic. The system uses ridge vents, gable vents and soffits to make sure your roof is well-ventilated.

Inspect Your Roof

Check for missing shingles or structural damage that can allow heat to escape and melt snow on your roof.

The experts at Thompson Creek can help prepare your Mid-Atlantic home for the wild Mid-Atlantic winters. Call us today to make sure your home is winter-prepared.