If you notice icicles hanging from your overhangs or ice forming on your roof, you need to be aware that an ice dam is beginning to form. An ice dam can be damaging to your roof and cause thousands of dollars in damage if not properly cared for. Many types of roofing materials, including wood shakes, asphalt shingles and ceramic tiles, can crack and break due to the extremely cold temperature of the ice. The heavy weight of the ice can also weigh down your roof, causing small cracks to form or even causing your roof to cave in. If ice is accumulating on your roof, here are a few things that you should do to reverse the problem and prevent the ice from causing any more damage to your roof than it may have already caused.
Use a Roof Rake
If you have ice accumulating on your roof, one of the ways that you can remove it is to use a roof rake. This type of rake is specially designed to allow you to reach on your roof and remove snow and ice, without damaging the roof. It looks more like a window squeegee than a traditional rake, which is why it is safe to use on your roof.
Stand on the ground and extend the pole on your roof rake. Reach as far onto the roof as the rake will allow you to, and gently pull the rake downward following the slope of the roof. As you pull the rake downward, some ice and snow will lift away. However, if the ice is thick, a roof rake may not be very effective.
Use Calcium Chloride
If ice is accumulating on your roof and your roof rake does not work, you should next try to use calcium chloride. Calcium chloride is an ice melting product that can readily be found at home improvement stores if you live in a cold weather area during the winter months. However, unlike ice melting salts, calcium chloride will not harm your roof or dry it out.
When using calcium chloride, you will want to cut out the leg of an old pair of panty hose. Fill the leg with calcium chloride and tie a knot in the top of the panty hose. Then use your roof rake to lay the calcium chloride-filled panty hose on the roof in a vertical position. You want it positioned over the thickest part of the dam with the sock extending into the gutter. The calcium chloride will melt this part of the dam, creating a channel down the middle of the ice dam. This will allow the other parts to hopefully slowly melt and drain away into your gutter trough.
Call in a Residential Roofer
If a roof rake and calcium chloride are not solving the problem, or if the dam has started to crack your roof, you will want to call in a residential roofer. They can use roof heaters and other products to slowly melt the dam and remove it before it causes any further damage.
An ice dam is nothing to mess around with. They can grow quickly and become challenging to remove. Working to remove it as soon as it is spotted is the best way to prevent problems that can be caused by an ice dam forming on your roof. Using a roof rake and calcium chloride can help you to remove some ice dams on your own. However, if these products don't work, you need to call in a professional to remove the ice dam. See this site or a similar one for more information.