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Fire & Water - Cleanup & Restoration

How to Remove an Ice Dam

2/26/2018 (Permalink)

An ice dam is a block of ice that forms at the edge of a roof during the cold weather months. When ice on the bottom of the dam melts, water seeps underneath the shingles of your roof, potentially damaging your insulation, ceiling and walls.  Additionally, if your roof sheathing stays wet because of an ice dam, it can form mold and start to rot.  

If you have an ice dam, here’s what to do:

  • Break the ice up with a hammer or other blunt object.  Do not use a sharp object like a pick or ax that may cut into your roof. Even with a blunt object, be sure to tap lightly and be patient.  Breaking off large chunks of ice may cause shingles to be torn off your roof.
  • Clean out gutters and downspouts that are clogged by the ice dam.  This is easier said than done.  It can be dangerous work and an easy way to damage your gutters and downspouts. Calcium chloride can be used to melt the ice.  Do not use rock salt, as it can damage metal and paint.  

Of course, it’s best to prevent an ice dam from forming in the first place. Here’s how:

  • Seal off any spots where warm air can leak from your attack and reach your roof.
  • Insulate your attic sufficiently to prevent the transfer of heat from your attic to your roof.
  • Make sure you have adequate venting in your attic so that any heat that does reach the roof can be efficiently carried away.
  • Use a roof cable de-icer along the edge of your roof (near the gutter).  A roof cable de-icer prevents roof damage and leaking by keeping gutters and downspouts flowing even in frigid, sub-zero temperatures.

Some of these tips can be difficult to implement and even dangerous, so please be careful when working on your roof or a ladder.  Consider the risks, and hire a professional if you have doubts.  

SERVPRO of Frankfort is a trusted leader in the restoration industry. We provide 24-hour emergency service and are dedicated to responding faster to any size disaster. With the training and expertise to handle your restoration and cleaning needs, we’re locally owned and operated and can respond immediately to your emergency.

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