DIY Ice Dam Removal: What You Need to KnowJuly 2, 2022
DIY Ice Dam Removal: What You Need to Know
Ice dams can be a major problem for homeowners during the winter months. They form when snow on the roof melts, runs down to the edge of the roof, and then refreezes. This creates a buildup of ice, which can prevent water from draining off the roof and lead to water damage inside the home. While calling in a professional to remove ice dams is one option, some homeowners prefer to tackle the problem themselves. If you’re considering a DIY ice dam removal, here’s what you need to know.
1. Safety first
Before attempting to remove an ice dam, it’s important to prioritize safety. Climbing onto a roof or using a ladder can be dangerous, especially if there’s ice or snow present. Consider hiring a professional if you’re uncomfortable with the risks involved. If you do decide to tackle the job yourself, wear slip-resistant shoes or boots with good traction, and use a safety harness if you’ll be working at heights. Be sure to also work with a partner who can assist you if needed.
2. Choose the right tool
There are a few different tools that can be used to remove ice dams, including a roof rake, an ice melt product, and a steam machine. A roof rake is a long pole with a blade on the end, which allows you to remove snow from the roof without climbing up. It’s a good option for preventing ice dams from forming in the first place. An ice melt product, such as calcium chloride, can be sprinkled onto the roof to help melt the ice. This method is best for preventing ice dams rather than removing them. A steam machine is a powerful tool that can quickly remove ice dams by melting the ice with hot steam.
3. Never use a hammer, chisel, or pickaxe
While it might be tempting to hack away at an ice dam with a hammer, chisel, or pickaxe, this is not recommended. These tools can damage your roof, gutters, and shingles, leading to costly repairs. They can also be dangerous if used improperly. Stick to using a roof rake or a steam machine instead.
4. Be gentle
When removing an ice dam, it’s important to be gentle. Don’t yank or pull too hard on the ice, as this can damage your roof. Instead, use a gentle back-and-forth motion with your tool of choice. If you’re using a roof rake, start at the edge of the roof and work your way up, being careful not to damage any shingles. If you’re using a steam machine, hold it close to the ice dam so the steam can melt the ice. Be patient and take breaks as needed.
5. Address the underlying problem
While removing an ice dam can be a temporary fix, it’s important to address the underlying problem to prevent them from forming in the future. This could mean adding insulation to your attic or sealing any air leaks in your home. It’s also important to keep your gutters clear of debris so that water can flow freely. Consider hiring a professional to assess your home and make Ice dam removal recommendations for preventing future ice dams.
In conclusion, removing an ice dam can be a challenging and potentially dangerous task. If you’re uncomfortable with the risks involved, it’s best to hire a professional. However, if you do decide to tackle the job yourself, prioritize safety, choose the right tool, be gentle, and address the underlying problem to prevent ice dams from forming in the future. Remember, patience and caution are key when it comes to DIY ice dam removal.