How to Remove an Ice Dam From a Roof

How to Remove an Ice Dam From a Roof

With the fluctuating temperatures in Birmingham, homeowners sometimes need to think about preventing and removing ice dams. While this area of Alabama does not see much snow, ice storms do occur almost every winter.

Unfortunately, chilly weather also brings the possibility of ice dams that can damage your roof, your gutters, and even your home’s interior. However, you can use some home remedies to help prevent ice dams before they happen as well as a few tricks for how to remove an ice dam from the roof when one develops.

Authentic Restoration can help you with storm damage and roof repairs any time of year. Call us at (205) 982-5252 to learn more about our services and how we can protect your home from ice dams.

What Is an Ice Dam?

Birmingham homeowners are all too familiar with ice dams because of fluctuating temperatures and unpredictable precipitation throughout Alabama winters. Sleet, snow, and ice can accumulate quickly on your roof one day, and the next, you may have sunny skies and a quick thaw.

An ice dam forms when ice or snow on a roof melts and then refreezes along the roof’s edge or inside the gutter. With the ice buildup, any additional melting or runoff has nowhere to go, damaging shingles, flashing, or gutters.

The melting runoff may find its way through your walls and ceilings, causing interior water damage as well. Without removing any existing ice dams as soon as they form, you can expect them to expand or create new ones that increase the scope of roof damage.

What Causes Ice Dams?

It’s easy to blame ice dam formation on crazy weather, but the truth is, most ice dams are the result of inadequate attic insulation. The heat inside your home can escape through the roof, melting the ice from underneath.

Adding insulation to your attic can make a significant difference in the potential of ice dams forming. Extra insulation may also lower your energy bills and keep you more comfortable, so it is a worthwhile home improvement project to do.

How to Remove an Ice Dam from the Roof and Protect Your Home

If you deal with ice dams every winter, you may want to invest in an electric cabling system to keep your eaves warm and prevent any runoff from refreezing. However, if you only see snow or ice one or two times a year, you may not need to take that step to protect your home.

You may also consider replacing your current roofing material with a metal roof. Metal roofs do not accumulate snow and ice the way a shingled roof does, and you can go the extra step to install a metal edge to make sure ice dams do not have space to form.

Try these other home remedies for removing an ice dam from the roof:

Use a Roof Rake or Broom

remove ice dam with broom

A long-handled roof rake or broom can help you clear snow off your roof before it has a chance to melt and refreeze. If your roof pitch is not too high, you should be able to stand safely on the ground and use the rake to remove snow.

Be sure to rake the snow or ice toward the roof’s edge or gutter rather than sweep side to side. A sideways motion may harm your roof shingles in the process.

Make Ice Melt Socks

If you have any old socks or panty hose lying around, put them to good use to clear an ice dam. All you need to do is cut off the legs (if using panty hose), fill them with a calcium chloride ice melt, and then tie the ends shut. Place them at various angles along the roof edge, gutter, and even slopes to stop any refreezing.

This method does require someone to climb a ladder or get on the roof, and it takes some time and repositioning to make a difference. However, it may help until a professional roofing contractor arrives to mitigate any damage.

Roof Damage from Ice Dam

Don’t wait until ice dams do a number on your home. Call Authentic Restoration in Birmingham at (205) 982-5252 to schedule a roof inspection before winter weather damages your roof. If you already suspect you have a problem, contact us for emergency storm restoration or tips on how to remove an ice dam from the roof to help until we arrive on the scene.