Ice dams tend to be the bane of homeowners during the winter. A formation of ice frosted on the edge of the roof, they tend to cause extensive damage when left unchecked, posing both a hazard to you and costly damage to a homeowner. Therefore it is important to do whatever you can to prevent ice dams from occurring, and to deal with them immediately if they do manage to form.
What Is An Ice Dam?
An ice dam is when water from the melting snow freezes at the edge of your roofline. This creates a barrier which blocks water from pouring through, allowing water to seep underneath the roof shingles and leak into the roof of the building.
The consequences of this tend to be pretty grave. For one, icicles develop on the side of your roof, posing a danger to those below. They also block your gutters and clog them with debris, which can lead to the collapse of your gutters from the excessive weight.
Another concern is the leakage of water. Having leaks allows warm air to exit and cold air to enter, increasing your energy bills in the process. It also allows snow melt to enter, causing moisture damage, and through consecutive freezing and melting cycles will make your cracks larger and deeper.
How Do I Prevent Them?
The best thing you can do is to stop them from forming in the first place. The easiest thing to do is to use a roof rake to remove the snow off your roof as soon as it accumulates, however depending on how high and how large your roof is, this may be dangerous, in which case you would want to defer to a professional.
Another option is to install heat cables in ice dam prone areas. These heat cables will keep the area warm, and water will continue to run off the roof as opposed to freezing on the edge. However, they can be intrusive and are a bit of an eyesore. There are integrated options that you can install if you want something more discreet.
How Do I Remove Them?
Perhaps its too late, and you have one on your roof right now. In this case, what do you do now? One option would be to pour calcium chloride on the ice dam, which will melt the ice and allow water to flow below. Be sure to move or put a covering over any plants below, as the calcium chloride may damage them. Also, make sure the product is not sodium chloride or rock salt, as that will damage your roof. Again, this may be dangerous, so consider hiring a contractor.
Need help preventing or removing ice dams? Our roofing team has extensive experience in handling them, as well as any other issues your roof may have. Call us at 603-365-7156, or by filling out an online inquiry form. We’d love to work with you!