How to Remove Ice Dams

How to Remove Ice Dams

You may have seen big icicles hanging from your home but didn’t realize just how much damage they can cause.  Icicles mean that you have ice dams on your roof and that is a problem.  We will show you what causes and how to remove ice dams from your roof.

What are Ice Dams?

An ice dam is simply a wall of ice that gathers at the edge of the roof where your rain gutters are.  If your gutters are clogged and the water gathers there and freezes it forms an ice dam.  Once this large chunk of ice starts to melt it can seep into your home damaging everything from the attic, insulation to your walls.

Why Do Ice Dams Form?

Ice dams are caused by a couple of different factors, the most common being the gutters weren’t cleaned out of leaves in the fall before the really cold weather hit.  Another reason is that your attic isn’t properly ventilated.  You get warm spots in your attic that starts to melt the snow even when it is really cold outside.  This melted snow runs down the roof until it reaches the gutters where it freezes once again.

How Do You Remove an Ice Dam?

You need to be very careful removing an ice dam, not only is your roof going to be extremely slippery but you need to make sure you don’t damage your home.  Don’t walk on a roof covered in snow and ice, rather you want to get in a roofing contractor to have a look. They have the right equipment to remove the ice dam safely.

Some companies will tell you to remove the gutters in order to rid yourself of the ice dam, not the greatest idea you can end up with extensive water damage if you do so.  You need to first get the snow completely off your roof.  You can use a rake and a broom to remove the snow banks on the roof.  Be careful that you don’t damage any of the shingles.  You don’t have to remove all of the ice from the gutters, once the snow is removed the ice dam will melt as the weather warms up.

Preventing Ice Dams

If you want to prevent ice dams from coming back in the future the first thing you want to do is to make sure that the gutters are cleaned out in the fall.  After that you will need to make sure that your attic is adequately ventilated.  Talk to a local roofing contractor or even an insulation company to see if you need your vents replaced for larger vents.

Big icicles hanging off the side of your home may be interesting to look at but they are dangerous and need to be removed as soon as possible. It indicates a bigger problem, you have an ice dam and if left alone it can damage your roof and cause leaks.  Ice dams are one of the reasons it is so important to have your gutters cleaned before the cold weather comes.