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How to Fix Ice Dams or Reduce Them from Forming

By January 15, 2016October 17th, 2023No Comments

Ice dams, the continuous ridges of ice that can form along the edges of a roof, are a fact of life in colder areas of the country. Ice dams develop after a heavy snowfall when a roof — heated by warm air that escapes through an underinsulated attic floor — causes snow to melt. When the water running down the roof reaches the colder roof edge, it refreezes and a mound of ice forms. Icicles may also develop.

Further water melting off the roof will then pool behind this wall of ice and seep under the shingles, working its way five or even 10 feet back. In time, the water soaks through the roof into the soffit, walls, and even worse, into your ceilings.

How to Clear an Ice Dam
Some people will attempt to clear an ice dam using an axe, ice pick or some other implement. While this can work, it is not recommended as it is very easy to damage your roof and gutters! A better method is to use a melting agent such as calcium chloride ice melter. Some people put ice melt in nylon stockings and lay them over the ice dam. Do not use rock salt as it is corrosive and can damage paint, metals and plants surrounding the home or wherever the salty water drains.

Most importantly, you need to reduce ice dams from forming in the first place.

Ice Dam Prevention
As stated earlier, the cause of ice dams is a warm roof melting the snow on the roof. Keeping your attic cool is the way to prevent this. This can be accomplished by ensuring that your attic is adequately insulated, and by adding ventilation to both the attic space and soffits if there isn’t any.

Gutter Helmet® Gutter Covers Can Help
While installing gutter covers won’t reduce ice dams, they will help keep your gutters free from clogs so that snowmelt can run off more easily, making it harder for ice dams to form. Contact Gutter Helmet® of Kansas City to get a free, no-obligation quote or to schedule an in-home appointment with one of our sales representatives.