Identify and Remove an Ice Dam

Ice dams may sound like a cool phenomenon, but they can damage your home. Do you know how to identify and remove an ice dam?

There may be times when even your best efforts to prevent an ice dam may fall short. Knowing what an ice dam is, how to spot one, and how to remove the collection of ice on your roof is important in order to protect both your home and your roof from the potential damage during the winter months. Here are a few tips on how to identify and remove an ice dam.

What is an ice dam?

When the heat from your attic escapes onto the roof with a blanket of snow above, it causes the snow to melt and slide down into your gutters. The temperatures are such that the water may freeze and not allow proper drainage. As more and more ice melts and refreezes, an ice dam is formed. If not removed properly, it may back up underneath the roof shingles and make its way into your home.

How to remove that ice dam.

  1. Remove the snow using a roof rake. Make sure that you are careful to not damage your roof and remove about three to four feet of snow from the edge.
  2. Calcium chloride is a chemical that “mixes” with the water molecules in the ice and creates a water solution whose freezing temperature is lower than regular water, thus melting the ice that is blocking your gutters. Kind of like how the ocean does not freeze at 0º C (32º F)–the saline water has a lower freezing temperature than fresh water. (The freezing point of seawater, if you are curious, is -2º C (28.4º F).)

Check your insurance policy to see if an ice dam is covered by your policy. You’re going to need the right homeowners insurance to have you covered, so it’s best to take your time. Contact the independent insurance professionals Perry & Carroll in Elmira, New York for all of your homeowners insurance coverage needs this season.