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How to Get Rid of Ice Dams

Are you worried about an ice dam forming on your roof? You’re not alone. With all of the ice and snow piling up from recent storms, ice dams are a concern for many home and business owners. Here at Gilbert, we know what a hassle ice dams and subsequent water damage can be, so we put together a quick guide to help you recognize, get rid of, and prevent ice dams.

What is an ice dam?

Ice dams form when snow accumulated on your roof begins to melt, but then freezes back into ice on the edge of your roofline. They are especially prone to happening when temperatures fluctuate in the winter, as they commonly do in New England. If the ice dam goes untreated, melting water may seep under your roof shingles and into your ceiling, causing both damage to your roof and water damage on the interior of your home.

How do you know if you have an ice dam?

The biggest indicator of an ice dam on your roof are water stains in your attic. During the winter, especially after it snows, check ceilings and exterior walls for water stains or any other signs of moisture. You should also check your roof after every snowfall to monitor icicle formations. Icicles can cause injury or property damage as they melt and fall to the ground, but they can also be an indicator of an ice dam formation, depending on where they form. While icicles forming on gutters are quite common, if there appears to be water behind them, that could indicate an ice dam.

What do you do if you have an ice dam?

If you have a high roof, it may be best to hire a professional to come remove your ice dam. If you are able to safely access your roof, you should begin by clearing snow from the edge of your roof. Be careful using a roof rake — you do not want to damage any shingles on your roof as you try to clear it. Once you have cleared the edge of your roof, fill a nylon stocking with a calcium chloride ice melt product. Do not use rock solid or sodium chloride, which can damage shingles and paint. Place your calcium chloride-filled nylon vertically across the ice dam. The goal here is to melt a channel through the ice.

How can I keep ice dams from forming again?

To prevent ice dams from forming in the first place, assess the insulation and venting under your roof. Make sure that heat from your home is not escaping to your roof, causing ice and snow to melt and then leak into your home.

Water damage is no joke, especially in the winter. Give Gilbert a call today at 781-942-2225 or visit our website to make sure your home insurance policy is up-to-date or to learn more about what you can do to keep your home safe in the winter.

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