Before the cool months bring their wrath, it’s a good idea to take care of some things outside your home to prevent any winter damage. Ice dams can cause damage to your home, particularly the roof or gutters.
An ice dam forms when snow on the roof melts due to the heat escaping from the home. The water then runs to the gutter where there is no warmth. The water freezes and often blocks additional water from running off the roof.
In the worst case scenario, a buildup of snow and water can seep into the home, causing water damage.
While the gut reaction is to heat the roof, you actually want to cool it down, so the snow will stay that way. Make sure the insulation in your attic is enough to keep warm air inside your home. It’s also a good idea to check that attic heating ducts are away from the roof. Seal any holes around light fixtures, chimneys, and fans.
If it’s too late to prevent ice in your gutters, there are some solutions.
Start by clearing the spouts of any debris, so that once the ice does start to melt it has somewhere to go. Carefully use a rake or a broom to get snow off the roof and gutters. However, don’t climb onto an icy roof, and only pull in the same direction as the shingles to prevent damaging them.
You can chip away at a small portion of the ice, however know that the gutter is already under lots of strain. If the weather is warm enough, the ice will melt on it’s own.
If it is an emergency, use warm or hot water to help melt the ice. Be sure the water is warmer than the ice or it will freeze once it touches the ice, causing additional problems.
(Flickr Photo By regcmo)