Ice dams are caused by snow melting on your roof and then re-freezing at the edge of your roof. This creates a “dam” for more water to run into and refreezing.

At some point the water behind the dam can work under your shingles and drain into your home or business, causing substantial damage to the interior.

There are several steps that you should take to prevent this occurrence:

  • Remove the first three or four feet of snow from your roof after each storm with a roof rake.
  • Clear gutters and downspouts as well as you can so the water will have someplace to run off.
  • Once you have an ice dam, you need to remove it as well. There are several methods for accomplishing this:
  • You may be able to knock it loose with a roof rake.
  • Trying cutting a channel through it to allow the water to drain.

If these fail, you can fill a nylon stocking with calcium chloride ice melt and place it vertically across the dam to melt a channel through it. Only use calcium chloride as rock salt will damage your roof shingles.

If all these methods fail, hire a contractor to remove it for you.

Don’t risk your life or that of your family or friends, but it is very important to remove the ice dam as soon as possible.

Ice Dam Prevention – Three Steps

1. Insulate your attic. If it is already insulated, you can add another layer to help prevent the freezing and thawing cycles that allow ice dams to form.

2. Add roof heat wiring to the edge of your roof. This is a project that will require a professional to install, but it may will be worth the cost in the long run.

3. If it is time for a new roof, install a water-repellant membrane under the shingles. This is an extra barrier that helps prevent water from seeping inside the building.