With this year’s warmer than average winter temperatures most of us haven’t given much thought to ice dams. And rightfully so. Without the colder temperatures water hasn’t been building up into icy snow dams causing flooding into our homes. However as true New Englanders know, winter is always unpredictable so here are a few quick tips to remember should the cold weather come back and bring ice dams with it.
1. Ice Dams are formed when melted snow refreezes at the base of the roof causing a dam that can allow water to build up and flow back into your home. Whenever possible remove snow from your roof either with a roof rake or a chemical de-icer product.
– Use caution when using a roof rake as it can do damage to your roof, and potentially hurt you if you are scraping large icicles or a lot of snow off of your roof. The steeper the pitch of your roof the faster it will fall so be mindful of where you are standing. If you are unsure about how to use a roof rake or if the ice is in a location difficult to reach contact a professional to come out and help you.
– You can also use calcium chloride or another de-icer type of chemical to remove ice dams. Fill an old sock or pantyhose with the substance and lay it across the ice. It will gradually melt the ice and create a channel for the water to run off. Depending on your type of roof the calcium chloride could stain your shingles.
2. The best long term fix for ice dams is prevention by keeping your entire roof the same temperature. This can be done by increasing ventilation, adding insulation and sealing off every possible air leak that might warm the underside of your roof.