Few things spell trouble for your roof quite like ice dam formation. Ice dams, thick ridges of solid ice that form along the ridges of your roof when snow and ice are allowed to melt and refreeze, can cause serious damage to your roof. These thick formations of ice can tear off gutters, loosen shingles, and cause water to seep into your house through the roof. Quick-action ice dam removal is necessary to prevent costly damage to your roof and interior walls.
The best way to prevent damage from ice dams is of course to prevent ice dams from forming in the first place. However, if it’s already too late and the ice dams have formed, here are some methods of ice dam removal that can minimize damage.
Ice Dam Removal Methods
Blow Cold Air
This might seem counterintuitive—you might assume that you should blow warm air at an ice dam. Warm air will actually make the problem worse. Either it will melt ice that will then refreeze and thicken the ice dam, or it will melt ice that will start to leak into your home through any cracks caused by the ice dam. Use a box fan to blow cool air at a leaking roof to freeze the water, literally stopping it in its tracks so it cannot continue to leak into your home.
Rake the Roof
From a position safely on the ground, use a long-handled aluminum rake to pull snow and ice off your roof. Raking snow off your roof can help prevent ice dams from forming, but it can also limit ice dam growth if you already have some ice dam formation. Get out there with your rake after every fresh snowfall. If the ice dam hasn’t already damaged your roof, you can stave off potential damage by preventing it from growing. Just make sure to be very careful during the process. You don’t want a large chunk of ice slipping off the roof and falling on you!
Use De-Icing Products
Your other option is to attempt to melt the ice dam, or at least clear a path for the melted snow and ice to run off the roof before it can refreeze into an ice dam. There are many de-icing products and “hacks” out there, but do your research before you pick one. Some of them are old wives’ tales that don’t really work, and some may do more harm than good if they melt ice without clearing a path for runoff.
Hire an Ice Dam Removal Service
There are many companies that offer ice dam removal services around the Twin Cities. If your ice dam formation is severe enough, that will probably be your best option for ice dam removal. Particularly if you can’t reach the roof safely, you’re better off hiring a professional.
A more permanent solution for ice dams is to improve your roof’s ventilation and insulation to prevent ice dams from forming in the first place. Schedule an audit with your HVAC provider to determine what your problem areas are.