An ice dam is a block of ice that develops at the roof’s edge, blocking the melting snow from channeling off your roof. Ice dams will usually form when the attic is warmer than the air outside. The heat melts the snow on the upper part of the roof, leaving it to freeze at the further end of the roof. This condensation causes melted water to back up behind the shingles and seeps underneath them due to the lack of a way through the ice dam.
While it is possible to prevent the effects of an ice dam, it is important to ensure you notice it earlier in the formation stage. Also, ice dam prevention methods reduce the chances of this happening to your house. This article will discuss how to identify and help remove an ice dam from your roof.
How to identify an ice dam
While it is possible to identify if your roof is having an ice dam, most people fail to acknowledge the signs and symptoms that come with it. Here are several ways you could identify an ice dam on your roof.
Inspect your attic
The attic is the uppermost part of your home that separates your living area from the roof. Apart from acting as a storage space for miscellaneous stuff, this part protects the home by insulating it from heat and air loss. Taking time to inspect your attic can be the easiest way to identify if an ice dam has already formed on your roof. Since an ice dam can cause water to come back to the house, find wet areas and places that water is dripping, making sure you mark them.
Check your walls
An ice dam allows water to go back to the house, damaging the different parts of your home. Inspect your walls for any water stains, especially in the areas close to the end of the roof. This will allow you to establish the areas that would need professional care to repair and prevent further damages.
Look at the icicles outside your house
Icicles are pieces of melted snow that hang from the gutters and are caused by warm air escaping from your home and heating the underside of the roof. These icicles indicate the presence of an ice dam on the end part of your roof that requires maximum attention before it wrecks your roof.
How to remove an ice dam
There are different ways you could remove an ice dam from your roof, either temporarily or long-term. Below are some of the most effective ways to remove an ice dam from your roof before it is too late.
Use a snow rake
The best way to temporarily remove an ice dam is to rake off the snow before it finds time to form into an ice dam. Regularly removing snow from your roof will help prevent it from concentrating and melting back into your house. It is advisable to rake the snow towards you and not sideways. This is to prevent damaging the shingles of your roof.
Use calcium chloride
This is preferably the most effective way to melt away an ice dam using calcium chloride. You will need to remove some of the snow from the roof to allow an area to fit the calcium chloride. Use an old sock or stocking and fill it up with this substance which you will vertically position onto the ice dam to help melt a path for the water to drip away to the downspout. Make sure you avoid using rock salt or sodium chloride because it can damage your roof.
It is important to remember that calcium chloride is easily dissolved in water making it permeable to plant through soil and air. It is important to cover the plants around your home while removing an ice dam to prevent exposing them to too much of this chemical that can cause scorched leaf margins and reduced plant growth.
Clear all clutter from your gutters
This is more of a prevention method that helps reduce the chances of an ice dam forming. The homeowner is encouraged to clean all the gutters and remove any debris that might be present before the start of winter. This helps prevent the snow from getting stuck and can allow the melted water to move freely away into the drainage, leaving your home safe.
Install heat cable
Homeowners could install heat cables that run on the edges of the roof that heat the roof to ensure all the snow in the roof melts uniformly. This will prevent the snow from stagnating and forming into an ice dam that could risk the health of your roof. These heat cables can increase the temperature making your home more comfortable and energy-efficient.
Make sure that your roof is well taken care of by implementing some of the tips offered in this article. When winter comes, your home will be ready and able to offer unbeaten comfort, energy efficiency, and a safe space to spend time with your loved ones.