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Fire & Water - Cleanup & Restoration

The DNA of an Ice Dam - How to Safely Prevent and Remove Ice Dams

1/24/2022 (Permalink)

Does or did your house recently feature a beautiful display of icicles? Those icicles might be an indicator of a growing problem that any cautious homeowner should be aware of. You could have an ice dam, which is common to see in the Bend OR area–where we regularly experience snowy and freezing conditions from winter storms. 

An ice dam is caused by snow melting and refreezing on your roof, building into a layer of ice that becomes exactly what the term describes: an actual dam that traps water. This can be dangerous for your home and anyone living in it since a typical ice dam can weigh thousands of pounds. This weight can compromise the structure of your roof, which in turn can cause all kinds of damage to your house.

How to Prevent Ice Dams

The best way to deal with ice dams is to prevent them. There are several ways to keep ice from building up on your roof. Essentially, you want to keep your attic and your roof cold.

Clear off excess snow

Use a rake to clear snow off your roof after a winter storm. Specialized roof rakes usually come with an extension to make this process safe and easy. Remove the snow while it’s soft, and be sure to clear the eaves of any ice that might have already accumulated.

Add insulation

Ice dams form when hot air from your house is transferred to the roof. By adding insulation to your attic, you can prevent that heat transfer and help keep warm air inside your home where it’s more useful and energy-efficient. 

Seal off attic airflow leaks

Make sure your house isn’t leaking warm air through gaps and vents into the attic. Crawl up into your attic and pull back insulation. Check vents that allow air in from the outside and make sure they’re open. Intake vents are usually located on the underside of your roof and can help keep your roof from getting too warm.

How to Remove an Ice Dam

Once an ice dam has formed on your roof, it’s best to safely remove it to prevent damage to your house and injury to you or your family. Ice dams can wreak significant havoc on a building, tearing off gutters, damaging shingles, and potentially causing leaks that will only lead to more problems, like mold and mildew.

Can I remove an ice dam myself?

Breaking up an ice dam and removing it from your roof can be dangerous, not to mention difficult if you lack the proper tools. If you need to get on your roof, we recommend hiring a roofing company to help. But if you decide to get on your roof, or anywhere six feet up or higher, we recommend that you are tethered to protect your safety. 

After the ice dam is removed, our trained experts can recommend how best to repair your home, so it is like the ice dam never even happened. 

If you’ve noticed a rim of ice forming on your roof, have a roofing company take care of it as soon as possible! If you have any questions about repairing the damage caused by ice dams or other winter storm damage, or you’d like one of our professionals to take care of it for you, call us at 541-385-7044. 

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