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How to Safely Remove Ice Dams

Ice dams prevent water from flowing to your gutters, causing it to back up onto your roof and possibly cause leaks. That’s why they need to be removed as soon as possible. 

What are the ways to safely remove ice dams from your roof’s edges? Here’s an overview of their pros and cons:

Safely Remove Ice Dams

Chip Away at Ice Dams to Allow Water to Drain

This is a relatively straightforward method. Use an ice pick or awl to create a hole that’s just big enough to allow the water trapped by ice dams to flow to the gutters. However, this isn’t the method that contractors would usually recommend. That’s because of the safety risks involved, not to mention the risk you might inadvertently damage parts of your roof while chipping away at ice dams. 

Deice Your Roof Using Calcium Chloride

Fill a nylon stocking with calcium chloride—a chemical used for melting icer—and seal the ends. Use a rake to place it in a location that’s perpendicular to the edge of your roof. 

Important note: Don’t forget to cover plants and shrubs under the edges of your roof with a plastic tarp to protect them from chemical runoff. 

Call a Roofing Professional

If you’re not comfortable with removing the ice dams yourself, it’s best to let a contractor from one of your local roofing companies handle it. 

Preventing Ice Dams From Forming

How do you keep ice dams from coming back? By routinely cleaning your gutters and making sure your roof or attic is well-ventilated. Without adequate roof ventilation, warm air might reach your roof and increase the temperature of its surface, melting the snow on top. And as the melted snow slides down to the colder edges of your roof, it freezes, depositing ice at your roof’s edge. 

What about steel roofs? Are ice dams less likely to form on a metal roof? Steel roofs shed snow better than a conventional roof, but ice dams can still form on the unheated parts of a metal roof. Remember: ice dams are usually caused by insulation issues, not issues with the type of roofing material installed. For more tips on preventing the formation of ice dams, consult a professional roofing contractor. 

Looking for a roofing contractor? Here’s a tip: It’s best to consult a local roofer. Since they’re more familiar with the local climate and building codes, they can make better recommendations. 

Oberg Roofing & Remodeling offers a wide range of professional exterior services, including gutter and roof replacement services. To get a free estimate, call us at (320) 204-2264 or fill out this form. We serve homeowners in St Cloud as well as the surrounding MN communities.