Ice dams are a common destructive roofing dilemma materializing during the winter months. Typically roofing concerns arise when snow melts, runs down a rooftop and refreezes near the edges. As a rule ice dams are created by having a warm attic space resulting in a combination of poor attic and roof ventilation. Ice damming can cause extensive damage to your roof, gutters, insulation and interior ice walls therefore it is imperative one learns how to prevent such.
The most effective solution to prevent ice damming is to keep heat out of the attic in order to keep the roof as cold as possible preventing the melting of snow, ice and debris. While this might be the most effective long-term solution in preventing ice dams there are also other precautionary measures such as installing heat tape, increasing attic floor insulation, and keeping your gutters clean. Removing leaves, fragments and rubble from your gutters might be the most important measure as it helps melting snow, ice and debris make its way from the rooftop to the ground without freezing.
Ice dams can be an overlooked hazard to your home whereas most people do not even consider ice dams until the damage is already done. If you are experiencing ice damming consulting a professional firsthand is not only necessary, but crucial. Clearing an ice dam, especially under the conditions some winter months can bring, may be very dangerous therefore it is in your best interest to have an expert take care of it. With that said there are a few safer “do it yourself” options but please take caution! Ice dams usually occur rather quickly after a heavy snow fall so it is important to get the snow off of the roof. One option is to use a roof rake. A roof rake can safely assist you in removing snow and debris from higher levels while standing below on the ground or deck. (Remember; do not attempt to get on top of a rooftop for any reason.) Another safe option is to apply calcium chloride or another ice melting product to your roof and gutters as this process will not cause damage to your roof. Again, a professional should be hired to apply the product. Finally, be sure to keep gutters clear of all debris- leaves, sticks, etc. This is best done in late fall after most/all leaves have fallen, which is usually right around Thanksgiving or say December 1st, but before the first snowfall or freeze up. This can help mitigate ice damming.
For many property owners, ice damming is an unpleasant incident which can be overlooked. The easy solution in such an event is to hire a professional service that has the proper equipment to remove the snow, ice and debris from your roof.
One note to make mention of is do not hire a contractor that plans on using a high-pressure power washer. This can cause extensive damage to your roof costing you more time and money in the long run.