7 do's and don'ts for dealing with an ice dam

Posted by: Angie Hicks on


 

When sun hits the snow and ice on your roof all that melted cold water leaks into frozen over gutters and eaves, forming dangerous icicles that could cause a lot of damage to your home.

It’s a process called ice damming and it could lead to serious problems or a big home hazard. Angie’s List recently talked to highly rated roofing and gutter specialists for their advice on protecting your property – and your loved ones – from these tapering, jagged icy shards.

Angie’s List offers 7 dos and don’ts for dealing with ice damming:

   1. Call a professional: Removing an ice dam can be quite dangerous. A good place to start is with a reputable roofing contractor. Check Angie’s List and get estimates and references from contractors in your area. Gutter cleaning companies may also offer this service.

   2. Remove snow from the roof: If you’re tackling the job yourself, there is a special tool for removing snow called a “roof rake”. Carefully pull it down the slope of the roofline. Never pull snow across the roof. You could damage the shingles.

   3. Chip away at the ice: For immediate action, you can chip away through the ice dam so the water can flow through. Stop when you get close to the roofing.

   4. Properly ventilate and insulate the attic: The main cause of ice dams is an overly warm attic.

   5. Never walk on a snow-covered roof: Make sure you work from a ladder to access/fix the damage.

   6. Do not install mechanical equipment or water heaters in attics: These are a fire hazard. Stick to insulation to help keep heat in your home.

   7. Do not use salt or calcium chloride to melt snow off the roof: These chemicals are very corrosive. The runoff of these chemicals can also damage grass and plants.