3 ways to prevent ice damming during a thaw

by | Feb 13, 2023 | Featured Home, Home and Living

Whether you like the look of a snow-covered roof or cheer when it melts, you probably won’t appreciate the damage ice dams can cause to yours.

Ice dams are created when rooftop snow melts during warmer days and then freezes when temperatures drop again. At their worst, ice dams can prevent further melting snow from running off your roof and instead cause it to leak into your home. Water penetration from ice dams can damage your home’s structure, finishings and contents.

Since they’re a normal part of winter and spring, make sure you’re prepared for ice dams. The best way to deal with them is to prevent them from forming in the first place. Here are three ways you can do that.

  1. Keep eavestroughs clear
    Having eavestroughs clear of leaves and other debris can help ensure that water from melting rooftop snow is properly directed off your roof. Ideally, you should clear eavestroughs in the months leading up to winter, but it’s still worth doing in winter and spring months if it’s safe.
  2. Take control of rooftop snow and ice
    Make your roof part of your snow clearing routine. Soon after a snowfall, use a roof rake to remove snow from the first few feet of your roof. If you already have ice buildup and want it removed, consider hiring an experienced professional to do it for you. Avoid climbing onto the roof to try to clear snow or ice – you can damage your home and seriously hurt yourself. Throwing salt or de-icing chemicals on roof ice is also a bad idea, as they may cause shingles to deteriorate.
  3. Invest in heating cables
    Although it may be too late for this season, one thing you can consider for next year is to install heating (or deicing) cables on your roof. These cables are installed on top of the shingles and along the roof line. When activated, they heat up to melt rooftop snow and ice before they turn into a problem. If you want to prevent ice dams effectively and with the least ongoing effort, heating cables are a good investment.

Find more home maintenance tips at tarion.com

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