5 Tips for Protecting Your Home from Ice Dams

Ice dams are a primary concern for homeowners during the cold, snowy winter months, as they can cause costly damage to your roof and the inside of your home. As packed snow on your roof melts, it collects along the edge of the roof and refreezes, forming an ice dam. If not removed, an ice dam can inhibit water from draining off the roof, causing it to back up and seep under the shingles and into your home. The key to preventing ice dam damage is disabling ice dams from forming in the first place. Here are some tips from TAMKO Building Products to help you protect your home from ice dams.

1. Clear snow from your roof. After every snow storm, it’s recommended to remove snow from the edges of your roof using a roof rake. This will help prevent an ice dam from forming, as well as decrease the weight and stress on your roof.

2. Keep the downspouts clear of debris. Keeping your downspouts cleared will enable melted snow to drain off the house. If the water has nowhere to go, it will pond on your roof and refreeze to form an ice dam. Make sure the area around the downspouts, as well as the rain gutters themselves, are clear of ice and debris.

3. Insulate your attic. Insulating your attic with a high R-value insulation product will help inhibit snow from melting and refreezing along the eaves of the roof. Seal any areas where hot air can leak into the attic from the house, including vent pipes, chimneys and exhaust fans.

4. Maintain a cool temperature in the attic. Once your attic is properly insulated, you should keep your attic at a cool temperature. It’s recommended to maintain a temperature that is a minimum of 5–10 degrees warmer than the outside climate. The underside of the roof should not exceed 30 degrees F.

5. Remove ice dams properly. Should an ice dam form on your roof, you need to remove it immediately. Do not try to remove the ice dam by throwing salt on it or hacking at it with a hammer, shovel or chisel, as this may damage your roof. Instead, a simple and safe way to remove it is by placing panty hose filled with calcium chloride ice melt across the ice dam. The panty hose should be laid so that it crosses the ice dam and extends over the gutter. The calcium chloride will melt the ice and allow it to flow into the gutters and off the roof. If you cannot safely remove the ice dam yourself, contact a professional to remove it for you.

By following this helpful advice from TAMKO Building Products, you can safeguard your roof and interior walls, ceilings and floors from potential damage.