Tips For Preventing Ice Dams

The sight of icicles in winter can bring warm, nostalgic feelings on par with fresh snow or holiday lights. But despite their attractive looks, they can be dangerous. In a perfect world, your house will remain free of icicles and the ice dams that create them. Here are a few tips for preventing ice dams throughout the winter months.

Ice dams form when the warmth from your roof causes the snow that collected there to melt and roll down the roof, collecting and freezing in your gutters. These massive chunks of ice then completely restrict the flow of the gutters, enabling further melt water to work itself under the roof and eventually into your home.

One way to combat ice dams before they form is to install an electric heating solution like a heated cable. Attached with clips along your roof’s edge, these help control the temperature so ice cannot build up and water continues to flow through the gutters. If you’ve experienced harmful ice dams before, you’ll want to install these before the weather turns bad.

If you’re reading this because an ice dam has already formed, there are a couple other quick fixes you can try.

Trying to physically remove the ice dam by pounding, chipping, or applying salt are all potentially hazardous options to both you and your home.

If water is already leaking into your home, you can point a box fan at that area and the cold air will stop the leak quickly.

If you can easily reach gutter-level from the ground, you can use an aluminum roof rake to remove the layers of snow and ice you can reach. This will at least change the temperature of your roof to discourage continued freezing.

There’s another, less orthodox method for getting ice to melt, as well. This Old House recommends filling the leg of a pair of panty hose with calcium chloride ice melter and laying it across the affected area and letting the chemicals and time do the work.

If you want to create conditions that permanently discourage the forming of ice dams, you need to take steps to regulate the temperature in your attic so that the roof and the eaves are not at drastically different temperatures. Seal up any leaks to the outside and place insulation on the attic floor.

From the EZsmart family to yours, here’s hoping for a winter season full of good cheer and free from the hassle of ice dams and icicles. Preventing ice dams this winter will save you a big headache!  As always, thanks for tuning in and check back soon.









Mark Ramsey