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Gutter Helmet by Lednor Home Solutions Worthington

Busting Ice Dams (and Some Myths Concerning Them)

By January 18, 2016October 18th, 2023No Comments

Everyone claims to have a surefire way to get rid of ice dams, but there’s no getting away from the fact that some methods are more effective than others. Let’s take a look at the claims people make about ice dams, and whether or not the facts back them up.

Myth: Ice dams can happen on any home.
Fact: Ice dams occur on roofs where the attic is not well-insulated and well-ventilated. Proper attic insulation is the best way to reduce ice dams. However, heat can still enter the attic through gaps around pipes, vents, recessed lighting, hatches, walls and chimneys, so be sure these areas are properly sealed.

Myth: Attic ventilation will not reduce ice dams.
Fact: Roof ventilation is one of the factors that reduce ice dams. It helps by flushing out heated air and drawing in cold air, but even the most well-designed ventilation system will stop functioning if vents are blocked. Be sure vents are open so air can circulate.

Myth: Raking snow off the roof can reduce and fix ice dams.
Fact: Using a roof rake can alleviate ice damming by removing snow, but it is a temporary solution at best. It’s also a repetitive and labor-intensive task that can cause damage and pose a safety risk if not done properly. Experts recommend saving snow removal for emergency situations and, even then, leaving the job to the pros.

Myth: Roof melt tablets and rock salt can reduce and fix ice dams.
Fact: This is another very temporary solution whose effectiveness comes at a cost. Placing roof melt tablets or salt-filled nylons at the edges of your roof will melt ice, but at the same time damage metal gutters, flashing and fasteners. Worse, they may not even work fast enough to prevent water damage. Better to address the root cause of ice damming.

Myth: Gutters have nothing to do with ice dams.
Fact: Gutters can worsen ice dam problems if they are not functioning properly. Once issues in the gutter system develop, the risk of ice dam formation increases significantly—even in homes that do not normally get ice dams. The surest way to prevent these back-to-back problems is to use gutter protection systems in conjunction with heating cables.

If you’d like to know more about gutter protection systems and other proven ways to reduce ice dams, call Gutter Helmet® by Harry Helmet of Central Ohio. You can also schedule a free on-site inspection and consultation so we can better assess your needs.