Dealing With Ice Dams

If you are a homeowner, you probably have noticed that ice dam’s are a major pain during New England’s long, cold winters. Taking the form of a layer of ice frosted on the end of a roof, they tend to cause costly damages that are not only expensive, but dangerous to you and those around your home. Therefore it is vital to do whatever it is necessary to remove them the moment they appear, and to prevent them from even forming if necessary.

What is an Ice Dam?

An ice dam is when water from the melting snow freezes at the edge of your roofline. This ends up acting as a barrier that blocks water from falling off the edge of your roof, keeping it up and allowing it to seep under the roof shingles and leak into the roof of the building.

This can have dire consequences if left unchecked. One of them is icicles developing on the side of your roof, becoming a hazard for anyone who goes underneath it. They also block your gutters and clog them with debris, with the excess weight bringing about the possibility of a potential collapse.

The other concern is the forming of cracks. Having cracks allows for snow melt to enter, which can lead to plethora of concerns including moisture damage, damaged insulation, and the widening of current cracks, thus aggravating the issue further. Having leaks also enables valuable hot air to exit your home, and colder air to enter. The result is increased heating bills for trying to keep your home warm.

How Do You Prevent Them?

Ideally, paying a little more upfront and taking preventative measures is always better than paying for the cost of repairs later. The easiest thing to do is to remove the the snow as soon as it lands using a roof rake. However, this can be dangerous depending on how high and how large your roof is, in which case you will want to contact a professional.

Another option is to install heat cables on your roof, which will keep the edges warm, and prevent water from freezing over the area. The result will be that ice will continue to run off as usual. However, they can be a bit of an eyesore, and some homeowners won’t want something that is visible. For them, there are integrated options that you can install if you want something more discreet.

How Do I Remove Them?

So let’s say that it’s too late, and one has accumulated on your roof right now. In this case, now what do you do? One option would be to pour calcium chloride on the ice, which will melt the dam. Be sure not to use sodium chloride or rock salt, as those will damage the roof. Again, reaching the roof may be a hazard for you, so consider hiring a contractor.

Interested in having work done on your roof? We over at Salemi Exteriors have several years of experience with inspecting, installing, replacing and repairing roofs. If you are interested in having some work done on your roof, contact us at 978-804-5972. We’d love to work with you!


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