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How To De-Ice Your Roof

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During the winter, snow accumulates on your roof and slowly begins to thaw and refreeze in bulks of ice around your gutters. These are called ice dams, and they can be detrimental to your roof. From gutters collapsing to shingles lifting, ice dams can cause a series of issues to your roof and home. Ice dams can be in the form of icicles or actual blocks of ice. Many things can cause this to happen such as poor insulation and ventilation in your attic. Luckily, there are many options and resources on the market today to clear ice from your roof. Here are a few ways to clear the ice dams from your roof this winter.

Use Heating Coils

Heating coils are a series of heated cables that you can put around the edge of your roof. When you see an ice dam form, you can make it disappear with a press of a button. The use of heating coils is a reasonably easy solution for homes with an ice dam issue. You can install heating coils before winter, and you will not have to worry about ice dams for the rest of the season. You can purchase heating coils at most major retail stores, or you can even order them online. Heating coils are an ideal solution for roofs that only occasionally have ice dam issues. However, for homes that continuously have ice dam issues year after year, it’s possible that your attic insulation or ventilation is not adequate, If this is the case, you should consult a contractor before installing heating coils, as you could only be “putting a bandage” on a bigger issue. 

Chip Away the Ice

This method is great for a roof that typically doesn’t have ice dam issues but has accumulated ice dams due to overnight weather changes. To chip away an ice dam from a roof, simply grab a metal rake or snow shovel, and start knocking off the ice that is hanging off of the edge of the roof. The goal is to remove as much ice as possible to reduce the weight of the ice along the edge of your roof; this will prevent the ice from growing and lifting your shingles. It’s important to note that you are only going to be knocking hanging ice off your roof rather than scraping your physical roof. Scraping your roof with a shovel or rake could damage it and cause issues later. The best course of action is to chip away the ice from the problem areas of the roof and afterwards apply roof melt to the roof. 

Apply Roof Melt

There are several roof melt products on the market today designed specifically for ice dam removal. Roof melt products are available in tablets, liquid, and cream. The liquids and creams are applied to problem areas. The tablet form is sprinkled on the roof or placed in tubes which are then applied on top of the ice jam. For best results, use roof melt after chipping away the overhanging ice. After knocking down hanging ice, simply grab your ice melting product and put it on top of any extra ice you weren’t able to reach or chip off. It’s important to assess your roof to see how big the ice dam issue is and what product would work the best for it. Ice melting tablets, typically come by the bucket full and can last all winter long, whereas the liquid or cream is for smaller areas that aren’t as extreme. When checking your roof to see what type of product would work best, it’s also a great idea to check if your ventilation or insulation could be causing the issue.

Have Proper Ventilation/ Insulation

Did you know improper ventilation and insulation will cause ice dams? During winter, you heat your home, and while the heat rises to your attic, it causes snow to melt and then refreeze around your gutters. Proper ventilation will prevent this issue by introducing cold air into your attic, making the temperatures equal. Insulation also does the trick by keeping the warm air inside the attic and by not allowing the warm air to escape and heat up your roof. Proper ventilation and insulation will save you money and time in the long run, and you won’t have to worry about removing ice dams that may hurt your roof.

In all, ice dams can be detrimental to your roof by lifting shingles and collapsing gutters. Although de-icing a roof can be a pesky chore, it is an essential task in order to prevent your roof from getting damaged. From installing heating coils to stocking up on roof melt tablets, there are many actions you can take to prevent ice dams on your roof. Be prepared this winter by not only stocking up on supplies but being vigilant in what to look for. This ensures a safe roof for you and your family this winter.