The Ultimate Guide to Ice Dam Removal: Tips and Tricks

January 2, 2022

Winter is here, which means snow and ice will soon be a part of our daily lives. As beautiful as it may look, ice dams can be a real headache for homeowners. They cause water damage to the roof, walls and ceilings which can be difficult and expensive to repair. In this ultimate guide to ice dam removal, we will provide you with some tips and tricks to prevent and remove ice dams from your home.

What Are Ice Dams?

Ice dams are build-ups of ice on rooftops. They are caused by heat rising from the interior of your home which melts the snow on the upper portion of your roof. The melted snow trickles down to the lower portions of the roof where the temperature is much colder. This causes the water to freeze and as it freezes, it creates an “ice dam” which can block any remaining melted snow from draining off the roof.

Why Are Ice Dams Harmful?

The problem with ice dams is that they prevent the snow from melting and draining off the roof as it’s supposed to do. The snow then accumulates on the roof, which can cause additional weight on the roof and lead to damage and leaks in the attic and walls. Water can seep through the damaged roof and ceilings, causing severe water damage and even mold growth.

Tips for Preventing Ice Dams

1. Keep your gutters clean: Regularly cleaning your gutters can help ensure Ice dam removal that water is flowing off your roof freely. The buildup of debris in your gutters can cause water to pool and freeze which can lead to ice dam formation.

2. Proper attic insulation: A well-insulated attic will help maintain an even temperature throughout the roof, preventing uneven melting of snow.

3. Seal air leaks: Heat escaping through air leaks can cause snow to melt in specific spots, leading to ice dams. Seal any leaks in your roof and attic to prevent this.

4. Ventilate your attic: Proper ventilation helps in the maintenance of a consistent temperature throughout your attic and rooftop.

How to Remove Ice Dams

1. Use calcium chloride: This is the safest and most effective method for ice dam removal. Spread it on the areas of the ice dam that you can reach. The calcium chloride will slowly melt the ice without damaging your roof. Be sure to wear gloves when handling calcium chloride as it can be harmful to your skin.

2. Use a roof rake: A roof rake is a long-handled tool that can remove the snow buildup from your roof before it has the chance to form into an ice dam.

3. Steam it away: Using a steam generator, like those used for steam cleaning or wallpaper removal, can melt away the ice dam. However, this method can be dangerous as it involves working on an icy roof, so it’s best to hire experienced professionals to do the job.


In summary, ice dams can cause a lot of damage to your home and be difficult and costly to repair. Understanding the causes and risk of ice dams is key to preventing their formation. However, should you find yourself with an ice dam on your roof, it’s important to safely and efficiently remove it to avoid any further damage. With these tips and tricks for ice dam prevention and removal, you’ll be prepared for the cold winter months and can prevent costly home repairs.