What to Do If You’ve Got Ice Dams

Ice Dams in Gutters

Winters can be harsh in New England, and this year is no exception. Between the snow and the freezing rain, it feels like we’re spending the majority of our free time shoveling, snow blowing and salting our driveways and walkways. But don’t forget there’s another place the snow and ice are piling up – your roof. That means you could be at risk for ice dams.

What Causes Ice Dams?

An ice dam is a ridge of ice that forms at the very edge of a roof and prevents water from draining off as the snow melts. They are formed by a combination of heat loss through a snow-covered roof combined with varying roof temperatures. If the snow on the roof surface reaches a temperature of 32 degrees for a sustained period, it will melt. The resulting water will then flow down the roof. If it meets a portion of the roof that is below 32 degrees, the water freezes – creating an ice dam.

The dam will continue to grow on portions of the roof that are typically below freezing as snow continues to melt on the warmer portions of the roof. The water will eventually back up behind the ice dam with nowhere to go. At this point it will begin to leak into homes and businesses, causing damage to ceilings, attics, insulation and walls. Gutters and downspouts are also at risk for damage from ice dams.

How to Deal with an Ice Dam

If you notice ice dams starting to form, one of the first things you should do is remove the snow from the roof. You can do this using a roof rake and push broom – but be careful not to damage your roofing materials in the process. You can also try hosing with tap water on a warm day to create a channel through the ice dam to allow water to drain off. This is only a temporary solution, but can be helpful in emergency situations if water is flowing into your home or office.

Ice dams can be difficult to remove if you don’t have the proper tools and training and, as we mentioned earlier, you risk damaging your roof. Rather than attempt to take care of it yourself, why not call the experts at Octagon Cleaning & Restoration. Our trained technicians can professionally remove your ice dam by steaming away the ice and removing any remaining snow on your roof.

If you are already experiencing water entering your home due to an ice dam do not delay, call the water mitigation experts at Octagon right away to treat the ice dam, and clean up the water damage and any resulting mold issues. You can reach our team of professionals at (207) 893-0002 in Maine and (603) 239-2100 in New Hampshire.