During the winter, ice dams are one of the biggest threats to the safety of your roof. Sure, their long, sparkly icicles might look beautiful from the outside, but they can cause massive amounts of water damage and issues for your roof. 

If you need to know how to get rid of ice dams safely, Werner Roofing is here to help. Check out our step-by-step guide below. 

What Are Ice Dams?

An ice dam is a ridge of ice that forms on the edge of your roof. The ice accumulation blocks the melting snow farther up on your roof from sliding off, causing it to leak through your roof and into the insulation.

If left to their own devices, ice dams can cause significant water damage to your home, destroy gutter systems, and be costly to repair once spring finally shows up. If your home is prone to ice dams, it’s in your best interest to get ahead of them before snowfall builds up, making it impossible to counteract their harmful effects.

How To Get Rid of Ice Dams Safely: 5 Helpful Tricks

While the only long-term solution to ice dams is to have your roofer repair the ventilation or insulation issues within your roof, there are some ways to solve the problem until you can get your roof fixed permanently. 

Important Note: Do not try to hack or chip away at existing ice dams. Not only is this harmful to your roof and gutters, but you’ll also most likely cause more damage by trying to break up the ice with a shovel or ice pick than you are to get rid of ice dams. 

1. Heated Cables

Heated cables are a fantastic fix for ice dams because they essentially stop them from forming in the first place. Place the heated cables in a zigzag pattern vertically on your roof and watch as they melt snow before it even has a chance to freeze and create ice dams.

Heated cables can easily be attached to the roof with clips; the only kicker is you have to ensure you get them in place before the first snowfall. 

2. Blow Cold Air Through Your Attic

When the hot air in your home rises through the roof, snow on the roof will melt and slide down until it reaches the cold edges of your roof, where it will stay and become an ice dam. One effective way to combat this from happening is by pointing fans directly at your roof in the attic, where the problem originates. 

When you cool down the underside of your roof, snow won’t melt in the first place, and ice dams can be prevented from forming. 

3. Rake Snow From Your Roof

Another preventative measure for ice dams is to get rid of the snow on your roof before it has a chance to melt. While this involves a bit of manual labor on your part, it’s a small price to pay for keeping your roof in one piece.

Raking snow from your roof will keep ice dams from forming, but you’ll need to be careful. Purchase a rake specially made to take snow off roofs, and take care not to damage shingles in the process. Most roof rakes are on wheels to protect shingles and are long enough that you can pull the snow off from the safety of the ground. So long as you get out there after every snowfall, your roof will be safe from ice dams.

4. Calcium Chloride Deicer

Deicing your roof is a very effective way to melt ice dams after they’ve already formed. It’s important to remember, though, if you use calcium chloride to deice your roof, you’ll want to protect any plants below the gutters, as they’ll die from overexposure to the chemical.

To effectively deice your roof, fill a nylon stocking with calcium chloride and throw the sock up on the roof so that it lays perpendicular to the edge of your roof. You may need to use a rake or long-handled broom to get the stocking into the correct position, but once it’s up there, you’ll start to see ice dams disappear.

5. Call a Roofing Professional

If you’re not sure you can deal with ice dams effectively on your own, know that you can always call a professional. Most methods for getting rid of ice dams are strenuous and require a bit of time in the frigid Michigan winter weather, so if you’re just not up to that this winter, don’t hesitate to call your local roofing professional. 

The professionals at Werner Roofing will come out and get rid of any existing ice dams for you and set up a solution to keep them away until you have time to fix the roof permanently.

How To Stop Ice Dams From Forming

While these solutions are all great temporary fixes, it’s important to remember that the only way to stop ice dams in their tracks is to get your roof fixed. If they’ve formed once, you’ll encounter them again. 

Whether you’re lacking insulation or your roof isn’t properly ventilated, at some point, you’ll need to call a professional to get your roof fixed permanently so that ice dams don’t form in the first place.

Werner Roofing Is Here To Help.

If you’ve got ice dams, but aren’t sure what the best method for removal is, don’t hesitate to get in touch with Werner Roofing. We’d be happy to help clear them off your roof. If you’re interested in long-term methods of preventing ice dams from forming, we can do that too! Just give us a call at 616-844-5382 or request a free initial estimate online today.

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How do you know when it’s time for a new roof? The only way to be sure of your residential roof’s current condition is to have a licensed professional personally inspect it. Werner Roofing is proud to offer free roof inspections for every client, so you can be sure of your roof’s condition. Every Werner Roofing inspection comes complete with our promise: “We won’t recommend or sell a roof replacement unless it’s necessary.” 

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