If you’ve been ‘enjoying’ the brutal winter that’s impacting the United States from coast to coast then the spring thaw can obviously not arrive soon enough!
Unfortunately, however, recent warmer temperatures coupled with the unprecedented amount of snowfall in many areas is now creating a potential issue on the roofs of homes in the form of ice dams.
These blocks of ice clogging up the gutters pose the possible risk of water backing-up under the roof and then at some point leaking into the house. Therefore, if possible, the ice dams need to be addressed and if possible dealt with.
What causes ice dams?
Here is a chart of the anatomy of an ice dam followed by some of the steps that can be taken to deal with them after they have already formed. Of course, as with any DIY jobs around the house, safety always comes first and if you think you need professional help then ask for it!
- Try to remove snow from the roof but only if it can be done safely. A roof rake or push broom can be used but may cause damage to the shingles. If it’s not possible to remove the snow safely, call a professional.
- Chisel grooves into the dam to allow the water behind it to drain off. This is a good emergency measure, especially if rain or a sudden thaw is coming. Be careful not to damage those shingles!
- Fill an old pair of your wife’s pantyhose with calcium chloride snow melt and lay it across the dam. It will help to melt the dam and also keep that area of the roof clear. DO NOT USE ROCK SALT! It may stain the roof and siding. It is best for small dams or prevention. It’s also a good idea to scrape the snow off the roof first.