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Tips For Removing And Preventing Ice Dams On Your Roof

Ice dams form on your roof when heat from the home rises, causing water runoff from melting snow. This runoff freezes as it touches the cold edge of the roof line, which creates an ice dam. It is called an ice dam because it prevents water from draining properly off the roof. These dams can cause serious damage to your roof and the inside of your house. To prevent damage and extra expense for roof repair, you need to take steps to remove or prevent ice dams.

Removing Existing Ice Dams

It is best to remove ice dams as soon as you notice them in order to restore water drainage. You should carry out periodic inspections for ice dams by looking for moisture and water stains in your attic and around the tops of interior walls on the top floor of the home. 

If you think you can safely reach your roof and feel comfortable doing so, you can use a roof rake to either knock the ice dam off or try to knock out a channel in the ice to allow water to flow through.  A roof rake is a long-handled tool used to remove snow off roofs. If you cannot reach it yourself, you can hire a roofing contractor to safely remove the ice dams. 

Another method of removing ice dams is to pour some calcium chloride ice melt  or rock salt into a sheer stocking and lay it across the dam to melt a channel through through the ice. Do not use rock salt or ice melt directly on the shingles; this can damage your roof. 

Preventing Ice Dam Formation

There are steps you can take to help reduce the number of ice dams that form. First, make sure that your downspouts are clear to allow melting snow to drain. This helps gutters drain when snow melts and prevents flooding caused by melting snow and ice. If possible, use a roof rake to clear snow off your roof each time you have an accumulating snowfall. 

Long-term prevention methods are also available. Insulation plays an important role in preventing the formation of ice dams. If you take steps to keep your attic well insulated, it helps stop the ongoing cycling of melting and freezing that leads to ice dam formation. Good roof insulation includes sealing any areas where warm air could escape into your attic, such as around chimneys, vents, light fixtures and exhaust fans. 

Talk to your roofing contractor about installing a water-repellent membrane under the roof shingles. This membrane is extra protection to keep water from leaking into the home. 

Ice dams can lead to extensive damage if not removed and prevented, so it is important to discuss your options with a roofing contractor, such as Palmer Roofing, to keep your home dry and damage free. 

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