3 Ways To Remove Roof Ice Dams To Protect You And Your Roof This Winter

The formation of ice along the edge of your roof in the form of icicles and as ice dams can put you and your home at risk of injury and damage. Heavy icicles can break off and pose a threat to anyone standing below. Ice dams forming on the roof eaves can cause damage to your roof as it refreezes under your shingles, pulling them up and causing moisture to get into your roofing deck and leaking into your home. For these reasons, it is important to prevent and remove the build-up of ice on your roof during winter. Here are some tips to help you reduce roof ice dams. 

Install Heating Cables

It is important to be able to identify ice dams on your roof so you can treat and prevent them. Inspect your roof for ice dams safely from the ground by looking along the edge of your roof for a layer of dark-colored ice beneath the snow and above the shingles on your roof. You will be able to see the depth of any ice dam formation along the edge of your roof, as it will be connected to any hanging icicles.

If your roof is prone to ice dam formation, one of the most efficient ways to prevent ice dam build-up is to install heating cables onto the edges of your roof and along the eaves. This melts any ice and prevents more melted snow from refreezing along the edge of your roof. You can hire a professional roofing company to install these wires in a zig-zag pattern, or install the system yourself. A heating cable system of this type can cost anywhere from $500 to $750 to be installed on your roof.

It is important that the system is connected to a power supply from your home and set on a thermostat for the cables to heat up when the temperature on the edge of your roof falls below freezing. Then, it is necessary to install heating cables down your roof's gutters and downspouts to prevent the melted ice from refreezing on its way down to the ground. 

Hire an Ice Removal Service

Another method to remove ice dams when they occur on your roof is to hire a professional company to use steam to remove any build-up on your roof. During this process the de-icing crew gets on your roof and removes the snow, then uses steam to melt the ice dam. It is important they use steam and not hot water, as using hot water puts a large amount of water onto your roof that can damage your shingles from the spray's pressure, and it can refreeze on your roof. Ask the de-icing company what process they use before hiring them to remedy the problem.

As this option is a way to remove ice dams, but not a way to prevent them, it should only be used in certain situations. It is best used when ice dam build-up has reached a high level and is at risk of causing damage to your roof, or the ice dams have begun to cause interior leaks inside your home. This solution removes the ice dams to prevent and stop damage while you remedy the situation and repair any interior damage.

Use Calcium Chloride

One method to help snow melt runoff your roof and reduce the amount of ice dams on your roof is by using calcium chloride as an ice melt. Do not use sodium chloride or rock salt, as these products can damage your roofing materials and cause further problems.

Cut the leg off a pair of nylon stockings and fill the leg with calcium chloride. Tie off the end of the stocking and place it vertically on the edge of your roof. This calcium chloride-filled stocking will melt the snow and ice to form a trough in the ice on the edge of your roof, allowing melting snow to run off and down into the gutters and downspouts on your roof.

When you use this method, be sure to keep your gutters and downspouts cleared of any leaves and other debris, as this can allow the melted ice to refreeze within the debris and clog the drainage system. For this reason, it is recommended to clean out your gutters and remove any clogs in your downspouts every six months.

Use these three tips to help you remove ice dam build-up and protect you and your home this winter. And for more information about ice dams and how to protect your roof from their damage, contact professional roofers, such as those at Trinity Contracting & Construction.


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