How To Remove Roof Ice Dams

How To Remove Roof Ice Dams

A picturesque formation of sparkling icicles beneath your roof’s eaves is actually a significant hazard to your property and to anyone who may pass underneath the ice dam.

When you need to remove roof ice dams, do so safely and, if necessary, hire a professional roofer for ice dam removal services.

Please call us at Sundown Exteriors at (309) 275-6801 for long-lasting, reliable solutions to prevent ice dam formation in Bloomington, Normal, Lincoln, Pontiac, and surrounding areas of Central Illinois.

Why Do Ice Dams Appear?

Why Do Ice Dams Appear

To prevent and treat ice dams, it’s important to understand the mechanism of their formation. The following stages lead to ice buildup around your roof’s edges:

  1. Melting. Most ice dams start with a warm attic. The heat in the attic warms the roof and causes snow to melt.
  2. Re-freezing. Melting snow and ice slide down until they reach the edge of the roof, which doesn’t receive as much heat from the attic. There, the snowmelt re-freezes into ice.
  3. Accumulation. As the former two steps repeat, ice accumulates at the eaves and forms roof ice dams.

Of course, ice dams will melt eventually when the weather warms—but until then, they may wreak havoc.

Massive ice dams may weigh down your gutters and make them collapse.

Meltwater may back up behind the dam, seep through the shingles, and cause a leak or moisture problem.

Finally, heavy icicles may eventually fall and cause serious injury to anyone who passes below the underside of the roof.

How To Remove Roof Ice Dams Safely

What if you go out after a snowy or freezing night and notice an ice dam along your roof’s eaves? You had better address this problem as soon as possible because otherwise the dam—and its potential for causing damage—will continue to grow as long as the cold weather holds.

The following methods may help you remove ice dams safely:

  • A roof rake. Use a designated long-handled roof rake to pull snow off your roof and prevent snow and ice buildup. Be careful not to damage your shingles.
  • Calcium chloride. Calcium chloride can melt ice and cut through an already formed dam. To create a path for meltwater, fill a pantyhose leg with calcium chloride and lay it across the dam so that the pantyhose tip reaches the gutter.
  • Hot water. Gently run hot water across the dam to melt and drain it. Only do that if you can access your roof’s eaves safely.

Please remember: Any roofing job, including ice dam removal, is potentially dangerous. To avoid unnecessary risks, consider hiring professional ice dam removal services. Roofing professionals use high-grade snow melting equipment that will remove even the largest dams safely.

How To Prevent Ice Dam Formation

If you struggle with ice dams on your roof every winter, invest in prevention. Keeping ice dams from forming can save you a lot of trouble, money, and risk. One of the following solutions will typically diminish or entirely prevent roof ice dams:

  • Upgrade attic insulation. Better attic insulation will result in less heat escaping to the roof, less meltwater, and fewer ice dams. Furthermore, it will help keep your home warm in the winter.
  • Ventilate attic and roof eaves. You need enough soffit vents to keep cold air circulating under the roof and avoid the heat-melt-refreeze cycle. A roofing professional can inspect your attic and suggest ventilation system upgrades.
  • Install heat cables. Heat cables in strategic locations may melt ice dams as they form. Heat cables are especially useful on north-facing roof planes, which get little sunshine during the winter.
  • Inspect flashing. Gaps around chimneys, skylights, and other roof openings often become heat (and moisture) leak sources. Sealing these gaps will help prevent warm air from escaping and creating a lot of meltwater.

Trusted Roofing Experts in Central Illinois

Are you tired of dealing with ice dams during every freezing spell? Contact our professional roofing team at Sundown Exteriors. Our local roofing experts will suggest effective, long-term, cost-efficient solutions to prevent roof ice dams on your property.

Call us at (309) 275-6801 or contact us online for a no-cost project quote in Bloomington, Pontiac, Normal, Lincoln, and nearby locations in Central Illinois.