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Pros and Cons of Different Ice Dam Removal Techniques

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Winter is a beautiful time, but this season can also be the most challenging for homeowners. Weather is often unpredictable – one chilly morning, you’ll be surprised to find icicles hanging on the edges of your roof. You may think these ice dams are a normal phenomenon, but these can actually pose dangers to your roof and your safety. So, what can you do about this issue?

Ice Dam Removal Techniques

How to Remove Ice Dams

Ice dams occur when heavy snow buildup melts and then refreezes along the edges of the roof. When these are ignored for an extended period, they can cause damage to your roofing system and other parts of your home.

There is no easy way to address ice dams, especially on your own. You’ll need the expertise of roofing contractors to ensure that the removal of ice dams will be done safely and properly. Here are the different techniques that can be used to get rid of ice dams:

  • Cold Air

Blowing cold air through your attic is a good solution if the ice dams aren’t too large. You can use a box fan and aim it at the underside of your roof where the problem starts. Leave the fan there for some time so that snow won’t melt and ice dams won’t form.

  • Ice Pick

This is one of the easiest ways to remove an ice dam. In this method, an ice pick is used to chip away the ice buildup, starting from the gutters and then back up to the roof. According to roof repair experts, you don’t need to remove all the ice. You simply need to create a channel for the ice and snowmelt to glide through your gutters. When doing this ice dam removal method, it’s important to be careful not to damage your roof. One bad move and your shingles may get damaged.

  • De-Icing

De-icing involves filling a nylon stocking with calcium chloride (CaCl), which is a type of salt used on roads during winter. The de-icing properties of road salt can be used to thaw the ice trapped in your gutters, letting the water drain more easily. Salt, however, can contribute to the rusting of grates, railings and drains. It may also cause flaking and scaling in concrete.

  • Rake

Use a rake that’s specially designed to remove snow on roofs. Also, consider rakes with telescopic handles that can extend up to 20 feet. With this kind of rake, you can scrape the snow off your roof from the ground. This can be a lot safer since you won’t need to climb the ladder.

However, be careful not to scratch sideways as the rake could tear the shingles off your roof. Another disadvantage of this ice dam removal is that you’ll have to do it regularly. It can also be challenging to reach every part of your roof, so it’s still possible for ice dams to form or remain in some areas.

  • Warm Water

Spraying warm water on the ice dam is another easy method you can try. It’s meant to be a stopgap solution, but you can expect immediate results. Since this will only loosen the ice, chipping the ice buildup would still likely be necessary. Another thing to take note of is that the warm water could eventually turn cold and freeze, unless a warming trend starts in your area.

  • Hire a Professional 

Calling an expert is the safest and the most effective way to get rid of ice dams. This is also the best option if you’re not sure you can do a thorough job of removing ice dams. Furthermore, most ice dam removal methods are strenuous and require time. If you don’t have the time to do it yourself, hiring a professional would suit you.

You can call up your trusted roof replacement and repair company. This way, you can rest assured that the job will be done properly, and you won’t have to worry about missing your daily tasks.

Preventing Ice Dams in the Future

Roofing experts often stress the importance of preventive maintenance in ensuring your roof remains functional and appealing for several years. Although weather conditions are beyond anyone’s control, and snowfall is inevitable during winter, there are many ways you can protect your roof and prevent ice dams from forming.

Here are some measures that you can take to avoid the formation of ice dams:

  • Improve your attic ventilation. Did you know that having good attic ventilation prevents the snow on your roof from melting, refreezing and then turning into ice dams? With proper air circulation in your attic, the temperature of your roof and in your attic remains consistent. This means snow won’t thaw and then refreeze due to fluctuating temperatures. Have your attic ventilation checked by your roofer so that you can determine whether it’s enough to keep the air flowing in your attic space.
  • Use heated cables to block ice dams. These cables can be placed in a zigzag pattern vertically on your roof before the snow falls. The heated cables will melt snow before it even has a chance to freeze and create ice dams. Heated cables are easily attached to the roof with clips, but it’s best to hire a professional to do the installation for you.
  • Insulate your ceiling and attic so that you can protect your roof and interior. Proper insulation goes hand in hand with ventilation. If one is lacking, you can’t maximize the benefits of the other.

Schedule Your Consultation Today!

Do ice dams often form on your roof during winter? Neumann Construction can help you fix this issue and ensure your roofing system is adequately protected from ice dams and water-related damage. Our areas of expertise include asphalt, metal, rubber, cedar and flat roofing. We also specialize in gutter systems, ice dam removal and hail and storm damage repair.

Call us today at (218) 270-0009, or complete our online form for a free, no-obligation consultation and estimate. We serve customers in Brainer, MN, and the surrounding areas.