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Ice Dams: How to Fix them—and Avoid them in the Future

Ice dams are simply considered part of the lovely homeowner experience that we, as Canadians, are continually subject to. However—they aren’t an inevitability. They can be fixed…and they can be prevented.

Ice Dams: How to Fix Them in Winter

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of aftercare when it comes to ice dams—but if you already have ice dams, then you absolutely must fix them. Without fixing them, they will build up  to the point they can severely damage your roof, your eaves—and your home’s walls. Removing home-damaging ice walls is relatively straightforward, and goes as follows…

  • Remove snow after heavy snow falls, with a roof rake. If you can’t reach the whole roof, at the very least remove that snow that builds up around the edges.
  • Melt your forming or existing ice dam(s) by using calcium chloride or another ice-melting product—but, be extremely careful delivering these ice-melting products as wintery conditions on a roof are extremely dangerous (even more so when the ice and snow melts!).
  • Call a pro. If you don’t have the tools or stability to climb up to your eaves and roof safely, then call a professional like the experts here at Dillon Bros roofing.

Ice Dams: How to Avoid Them in the Future

So—removing ice dams in winter is time consuming, and it requires time outside while the winter is at its coldest (which is generally when ice dams form). Instead of spending needlessly cold hours at side, put your (one-time) effort into prevention. Ice dams can be prevented by doing the following:

  • Maintain clean gutters—especially at the end of fall as the weather drops below freezing.
  • Eliminate/reduce heat leaks in your attic or any heat or exhaust leaks on the upper level of your home. These heat sources expel hot air around your gutters…causing the melted-then-frozen water that creates ice dams.
  • Add more insulation to your attic, as it will help prevent the heat release that causes ice and snow to melt, which in turn causes ice dams.
  • The other way to prevent the roof melting that creates ice dams, in addition to plugging-up your attic’s leaks and add insulation—is to properly ventilate the area.
  • ·f you only have light snow falls then installing heat tape may be enough of a strategy to prevent ice dams.

So—if you already have ice dams you can attempt to fix them yourself..but exercise EXTREME caution as it is extremely dangerous. If they are too far gone to fix yourself, then call the winter roofing pros—the Dillon Bros. Then, once the ‘winter’ has thawed—prepare your home for the following winter to prevent future ice dams.

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