How to Prevent Ice Dams from Forming on Your Roof

Icicles are inherently beautiful, but they can be a sign of trouble, too. Cold temperatures at night with even a slight warm-up during a day can produce ice dams on your roof. Ice dams prevent melting snow, ice, or fresh rain from flowing down gutters.

Depending on the shape of your roof and the seriousness of the ice build-up, ice can also rip up loose shingles on your roof.  Then, when all that snow and ice melts, water has a much easier time gaining access indoors.  And then you have a not only a mess on your hands, but a major repair bill.

Here are some tips on how to prevent the problem before it starts:

Snow removal: After a big snow fall, it’s best to remove the snow from the first foot and a half of your roof. This allows melting snow to run down the drain properly. A good bristle broom or roof rake can easily pull the snow down, but if you are unable to reach the roof you can call a roof professional.

Keep gutters clean: Leaf or tree debris can also contribute to the flow of water away from your roof. Before the next storm come, have your gutters and downspouts thoroughly cleaned if you haven’t already done so.

Insulate: Adding an extra layer of insulation to the attic can keep your home’s warm air from entering the attic. That warm air on the underside of the roof contributes to the melting of snow and ice, so once again prevention is key.

Already have an ice dam: If you already have an ice dam, quickly remove as much snow from the roof as possible to prevent it from getting any bigger. You also can put ice salt on the dam to help get rid of it faster.  Remove any icicles that are hanging and monitor your ceiling and walls for signs of water until the ice has fully melted. Also, never use a hammer, screwdriver, or axe to chip away at the ice as this can easily make matters worse by damaging your home.

Sounds like a lot of work, right?  Well, it doesn’t have to be provided if you follow two basic home maintenance steps:

  • Clean or have your gutters and down spouts cleaned once a year to remove all leaves and other potential obstructions; or, have your gutters covered with gutter guards.
  • Ensure that your attic insulation is at least 6” deep, in good condition, and that it covers the entire space.

And if, at any time, you need help in keeping your heating system in good repair, one call to Precision Air and Heat will get it done.