Ice dams are hazardous. They can wear down your roofing and gutters, and they cause significant damage when they fall. The best way to avoid accidents and injuries is to remove ice dams and take preventative precautions. Follow these safety tips for ice dam removal.
What Causes Ice Dams to Form?
Ice dams form when snow on the roof melts and refreezes. This is typically the result of heat from the attic seeping through the roof shingles, melting the lowest layer of snow on the roof. The snow becomes water and trickles down the roof. The water turns to ice as it hits new snow or the weather cools.
Ice dams also form because of clogged gutters. The water mentioned above may not freeze if it has somewhere to go. Clogged gutters block the water from flowing through the downspouts, so the water stays in place to freeze. We suggest cleaning your gutters at the end of autumn to keep them clear for winter snow melts.
Check out the National Weather Service’s illustration on How Ice Dams Form for more information.
How to Remove Ice Dams from Your Roof
Ice dam removal is a dangerous process. Ideally, you should get professional ice dam removal from a licensed contractor.
If you want to remove ice dams on your own, take extensive safety precautions. Have a partner accessible throughout the project in case you slip or fall. Wear sturdy shoes with firm grips, and wear gloves to prevent your hands from freezing.
You can use an ice pick or crowbar to gently break the ice dam into chunks. Then drop the chunks onto the ground, paying close attention to where they land. Be careful not to damage your roof or gutters as you do this.
You could also pour hot water on the ice to melt it quickly. This will not work if you have clogged gutters, and it may be tricky to get the water hot enough not to refreeze after application. Alternatively, you could use a chemical de-icer to melt the ice dam. This may not be safe for your roofing or gutters, so proceed cautiously.
We highly recommend contacting an ice dam removal company like McLean Roofing and Siding to handle this task for you. They have the equipment to complete the job safely and efficiently. Our company is fully insured, so you are not liable in the event of accidental damage. Keep this in mind as you move forward with the project.
How to Prevent Ice Dams in the Future
Your attic is the hub of ice dam prevention. Ensure this space is well-ventilated, adequately insulated, and closed off during the winter. These steps will keep the attic cool to minimize snow melting on the roof.
Clean your gutters frequently to ensure water flows through them. If your gutters are prone to clogging, you may want to upgrade to new seamless gutters.