Snowstorms continue to punish the Northeast, leaving many in the region wondering what they did to make Mother Nature so angry. As snow continues to accumulate and freeze, many are now dealing with ice dams on their roofs. Ice dams are just one of the many issues caused by all of this excessive snow, but it is the issue I will focus on in this blog
If you have long, thick icicles hanging from your roof then there is a good chance that you have ice dams. Ice dams occur at the edge of the roof, where a block of ice forms. As the snow melts from the heat escaping your home or rising temperatures, the water backs up behind the dam and makes its way underneath the shingles and into the home. The damage from an ice dam can be extensive as the water leaks in and ruins insulation, walls, ceilings, and more.
If you have an ice dam you should have a professional remove it from your roof. This will help stop the flow of water into the home by breaking up the ice which is preventing proper runoff of the melting ice and snow. You should also have the snow shoveled off of your roof to help prevent new ice dams from forming as the snow continues to melt and refreeze. If you do hire someone to shovel off your roof and remove ice dams, be sure they are licensed and insured. It is very easy to damage a roof while removing snow and ice dams and you do not want to be stuck paying for a new roof this summer because it was hacked up by a guy with a hammer over the winter.
If you are unable to hire a professional, there is a DIY trick you can use to help mitigate the ice dam issue. Fill a pair of pantyhose with Calcium chloride (ice melt) and lay it over the edge of your roof on top of the ice dam. Be sure the pantyhose are laying perpendicular to the edge of your roof and it overhangs the edge. The ice melt will eventually melt a channel in the ice dam and the melting ice and snow will travel through the channel and off of your roof. If you choose to use this tip, be sure that you do not use Sodium chloride (rock salt) as it is too corrosive and can damage your roof. Ice melt may also cause some damage, so be sure you do some research as to what the pros and cons of this approach will be so that you can weigh out whether or not this is the right approach for you.
Hiring a roofing company or contractor to remove snow and ice dams from your roof can be a bit pricey, but it is cheaper, safer and less of a headache to pay to remove the snow and ice from your roof rather than deal with the extensive damage that an ice dam can cause.