Nothing beats a cozy house when you're surrounded by snow. But that warm home may cause ice dams. When heat escapes from your attic, it melts the snow on your roof, and if it's cold enough outside, that melting snow may refreeze, creating ice dams.
You know those glittering icicles hanging from your home? They're a telltale sign that ice dams are forming, and your home is losing heat and energy much faster than it should be. As they form, ice dams force water under your roof covering and into your attic or exterior walls, causing serious damage to your home. Here are some tips to keep them away.
The best method for dealing with ice dams is to prevent them from forming. You can do this by properly ventilating and insulating your attic. By ventilating your attic, you make sure the warm air from inside your home is being replaced with colder outdoor air and the temperature inside your attic stays as close to the temperature outside as possible. Also check your attic insulation. If it's lacking, you can try insulating your attic yourself. (It's often one of the easiest rooms in your house to insulate.) For specific instructions, visit the U.S. Department of Energy's site.
If ice dams form on your home before you're able to ventilate and insulate your attic, you may want to call in a licensed contractor to remove them safely and effectively. If you plan to remove the dams yourself, avoid getting on the roof. Instead, use a roof rake and push broom to pull the ice and snow down the slope of your roof while you're on the ground. But be careful. Removing an ice dam can be dangerous.
Never use salt or calcium chloride to melt the snow because the chemicals are highly corrosive and will damage metal gutters, downspouts, and flashings.
Until next time,
The Home Know-It-All