Welcome to Tip #5 in our Fairfield Home Inspection Blog series how to prevent and removing ice dams from your home. In Tip #4 we discussed ventilation and insulation (see Part #4 of our Fairfield Home Inspection Blog series), now we will discuss preventative measures you can take such as installing heat cables or using roof rakes.
So let’s get started on Tip #5 in our Fairfield Home Inspection Blog series! There are also some preventative measures one can take such as roof raking and heat cables. Only hire a licensed electrician if you are considering heat cables. With roof rakes and shoveling, you have to be very careful to not actually contact the shingles or you risk damaging the roof.
Having discussed some ways to prevent ice damming and preventative measures, what if you are unlucky enough to experience ice damming? Keep in mind this is now reactionary in nature, and you should be pro-active by taking into account elements discussed earlier before winter comes. Also, none of the items described below are recommended or intended for instruction, however I wanted to share some of my personal experience over the years with preventing ice dams throughout Fairfield County, CT. I always recommend hiring a qualified professional to remove the ice dam as ladders and ice don’t always mix well together.
I was part of an ice dam clean up effort in Wilton, CT a few years ago and can tell you there are no real easy ways out. The key thing you want to try and do is relieve the water that is damming up so it drains out, but also protect the roof. We went at it with a combination of small axes, hammers, and an awl. While this was effective to break open some of the damn, you have to be careful to not hurt yourself or damage the roof shingles.
Another effort which helped but took longer was calcium chloride dumped into older panty hose and lined up vertically towards the ridge. The theory is that the salt will slowly be released, melting the snow and creating a channel for the water to drain out. You could also consider placing the melt directly on the roof but this could damage the shingles.
There are really no short cuts, and you should always hire a qualified, licensed, and insured contractor to do it. Make sure they know what they are doing or you run the risk of damaged roofing shingles. Thanks for reading, and hope everyone is having a happy, safe, and ice dam free winter.
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