A reminder about ice dam prevention

Posted by Matt Buchanan

Winter must be fast approaching because the RestorationEze water damage blog is going into hyper-mode warning people about things they need to do before the onslaught of cold weather gets here! We hate it when we sound alarmist, but the facts are the facts: cold weather puts extreme pressure on the systems your home depends on to function properly. And if you don’t take some precautions to make sure your home is able to withstand the winter months, you’re rolling the dice and the odds are eventually you’ll roll snake eyes.


Two approaches to ice dams


ice-dam-roofWhen we talk about stopping ice dams, there’s really 2 approaches: temporary fixes and permanent solutions. Sometimes a lack of time or resources prevent a permanent solution and what you really need is a quick, cheap fix to at least get you through the winter months before you can collect your breath and raise the funds to implement permanent fixes. So for this blog post, let’s talk about both! And as with all of our blog posts offering tips and advice on how to make sure you don’t need our water damage restoration services, you’re free to ignore them at your own peril! But just remember who gave you the free advice and be kind enough to call us if you need help!


Temporary solutions


When we talk about temporary solutions, what we mean is treating the symptoms without addressing the underlying issues that are cause the problem to start with. There are really only a few options to try and stop ice dams from causing home water damage without addressing the underlying problem (discussed at length below):

Deicing_Heat_Cable() install heat cables on the overhang of your roof to melt any snow and prevent the ice dam. These do just what they sound like…they heat the area prone to ice damming and prevent them from forming. Unfortunately, they can also damage your roof shingles and reduce their shelf life, so they aren’t the ideal solution.

() de-ice the dams…this is the redneck approach but it can work. Take a pair of panty hose and fill them with a de-icing agent then lay the panty hose across the overhang of your roof or above the gutter. This will de-ice the dam and allow water to reach the gutter, where hopefully it will be transported down the downspouts and away from the house.

() scrape off the ice dam. We don’t encourage people to do this themselves because it usually entails climbing on a snow covered, icy roof. But hire a roofing company to come in and scrape off the ice dams and clear the roof. Not only is this dangerous, but roofs aren’t designed to have a scraping tool run across them, and like the heating cables this can damage your shingles and ultimately do more harm than good.


Permanent Solution


We can’t talk about the right solution without first addressing the problem. But in reality, we also don’t need to reinvent the wheel. You’re probably tired of reading us blather on, so let’s just watch a video from our friends at ThisOldHouse.com that explains what happens and how you fix it for good!


About Matt Buchanan

I grew up in Irving, TX and left for Nashville, TN for college. After college I lived in Washington, DC and then in Cairo, Egypt. After coming back to the states, I spent a couple of years back in Dallas before moving with my wife to Denver!
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