3 Ways to Get Rid of Ice Dams

ice dams

We mentioned in our last post, and in many others before it, about ice dams and the damage they can cause to your roofing shingles and even inside your home.

As spring approaches, the warmer temperatures and more frequent fluctuation between above and below freezing temperatures are a prime environment for ice dam formation.

While the warmer temps might mean ice dams may not last as long as when they happen in the middle of winter, it doesn’t take long for them to do their damage either.

Ice dams form when snow on your roof melts due to the warmer temperatures of your house. After the snow melts, the water rolls down to the edge of your roof, over your soffit, where temperatures are colder because they don’t have the heat of the house directly below them. The colder temperatures can refreeze the water and the resulting ice can back up more melted snow that’s rolling off your roof.

While you can help to prevent ice dams with extra attic insulation and/or ventilation, you’re probably not going to want to do either of those in winter.

Here are a few other ways to prevent or get rid of ice dams – even in winter:


Use a Roof Rake

After a snow fall and before the snow has time to melt, clearing snow from the edges of your roof with a snow rake will minimize any ice build-up.

Ice-Melting Cables

Specifically designed to be installed around the edge of your roof near all your eaves troughs, snow melting cables can be installed relatively easily and quickly on a warmer day. They prevent water from refreezing when it gets over the edge of your roof and lets it continue draining all the way to your eaves troughs.

A Box Fan in the Attic

While you might not be able to upgrade your roof’s ventilation system in winter, you can give it a helping hand. By placing a box fan in the attic and pointing its air flow towards where water is coming in due to the ice dam, you’ll reduce the attic temperatures in the area which will refreeze the water and stop the leak. This is a temporary fix just to stop backed-up water from getting into your home.

What Not To Do

Hacking at ice dams can damage your roof and could be dangerous for you if large chunks of ice fall. And putting salt of the ice can do more damage to your roof and plantings than it does to the ice.

Please note: Chouinard Bros. does not recommend any homeowner complete repairs to their roof of their own. Our technicians are skilled at performing this work and have received years of training to understand how to complete repairs safely.

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