The ice dam removal process is a difficult one. It’s far better to prevent ice dams from building up in the first place. Unfortunately, the world isn’t a perfect one. If you find that you definitely have to remove an ice dam, follow these steps.
Step one: check the roof
Step one is simply assessing the situation. You may have to set up a ladder to get access to the roof. You’re looking for a ridge of ice and/or snow around the edges of your roof. It can be in or on top of your gutters. It should be higher than the snow and/or ice in the center of your roof. That’s what makes it a dam. When the snow and ice on your central roof melts, it can’t run over the edges because of the dam. Once you know it’s there, move on to step two.
Step two: set up safe access
Safe roof access is a must. Step two is making sure you can even safely access the roof. This requires a certain amount of discretion on your part. Can you handle going up on your roof? Do you have someone with you who can steady the ladder or fetch help if you slip? If there’s a current storm, don’t attempt ice dam removal. As difficult as they are to deal with, you’re more important than a roof. This isn’t the kind of do-it-yourself project that anyone can tackle.
Step three: use an ice rake
When you establish that you can safely access your roof to handle this, go to step three. If you can’t get up on your roof, skip straight to step four. There’s nothing wrong with needing a helping hand. However, if you chose to tackle your ice dam yourself, you’re going to need an ice rake. There are many conflicting opinions about ice dam removal online. Some recommend that you use hot water to melt the ice away. This is hard for a couple of reasons. First of all, it’s often difficult to carry boiling water up a ladder. Secondly, more water is the last thing you want on your roof.
Other articles say that you can use an ax or an ice pick to carve out a break in the ice dam. While you can handle ice dam removal this way, there’s a much higher chance that you’ll damage your roof in the process. You could break your shingles and disrupt your flashing. This is the problem you’re trying to avoid.
Ice dam removal should be handled with an ice rake. This breaks down ice slowly, but barely scrapes your roof. You have to work hard to do any damage with an ice rake.
Step four: call for backup
Once you’re done breaking up the ice dam yourself, or if you can’t, call a roofer.. You may have an interior leak that is causing the ice dam to form in the first place. Ice dam removal experts can help you patch it up before it becomes a bigger problem.
Ice dam removal is tough. Following the steps outlined above will help you clear up an ice dam. Moreover, you should only proceed if you have the right tools and it’s safe to do so.Don’t be a hero—call ice dam removal experts if you need help.