What should I do about ice dams?

January 28, 2022

Ice dams can be a problem in colder climates. It usually has to do with improper attic ventilation and/or insulation. If too much heat passes through the attic floor, the roof will heat up, causing the snow and ice to melt, which flows past the edge of the roof and re-freezes. The resulting ice buildup can cause water to pool and seep between the shingles and leak into the house.

The long term solution is to install more insulation in the attic floor, and make sure there is adequate ventilation from the soffits to the top of the roof.

For the immediate problem of ice dams, the ice needs to be removed, either with a steamer or an ice pick. Some roofing companies offer steam removal of ice dams.

If you choose to use an ice pick or screwdriver, be sure to chip at the ice parallel to the roof, not directly into it. If you chip right into the roof, you could damage the shingles. Also be sure to wear warm and protective gloves.

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