How to Safely Get Rid of Ice Dams

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When a homeowner realizes the potential damage that an ice dam can cause, the race is on to figure out how to remove it from the roof’s edge. Oftentimes, a homeowner will instinctively grab a shovel, climb a ladder and try to break the ice. Trying to remove an ice dam in this manner is physically dangerous, can dislodge shingles and bend gutters. More importantly, this work is usually ineffective and must occur after each storm, otherwise, ice will cause significant damage to the home.  At HotEdge, our business is dedicated to preventing ice dams from forming BEFORE they have the chance to be destructive. Once an ice dam has formed you will likely experience problems or the onset of problems. While waiting for a time where you can install a HotEdge system, there are steps you can take to help alleviate the problem from getting worse.  Please note that these should be considered short-term solutions only.

Steps to Help Your Problems From Getting Worse:

  1. Remove the snow on the roof. We recommend calling a professional for this task. This is a short term solution because repetitive snow removal can damage and likely reduce the life of a roof–not to mention the expense, as ice should be removed after each storm.  Additionally, you may run across DIY suggestions for removing the snow using a rake that has a long handle. However, you can accidentally break off small portions of the ice dam or icicles with the rake, thereby risking injury.  This method is not optimal because you are removing an insulating layer of snowpack which may make ice dams worse.
  2. Melt the ice dam with a snow melting product.  Chemical products can work, however, your best option is to purchase a heat trace cable that can be plugged into an existing outlet for power and place the heat trace cable on top of the ice dam. HotEdge provides this type of short-term solution. The heat trace cable will slowly melt through the ice dam and eventually rest on your roof deck. This product comes in different lengths and will need to be ordered in enough length to lay on top of all ice dams on your roof.  It is important to note that while chemical products can work in the short-term, they are a poor long-term solution because they can damage your landscaping and discolor your roofing material. Another DIY trick is to put on gloves, fill a pair of pantyhose with chemical melt product, and then place the filled pantyhose across the ice dam. Applying these chemicals is a risky maneuver as it requires you to either stand on a ladder or work beneath a wall of ice.
  3. Get cold air into the attic fast. Ventilating the attic with cold air will help prevent bigger, more destructive ice dams from forming.  Please know, this method can have limited success due to the fact most homes have heated pipes and vent stacks that travel through the attic region.

Contact Us Today

Instead of trying to safely get rid of ice dams that have already formed, you can prevent them from forming with the expertise of HotEdge technicians. If your home or business is plagued by ice dams, it’s time to call the HotEdge customer support team. We manufacture UL and NEC accredited roof ice melt systems for every type of roof, which are affordable, effective and simple to maintain. Contact our highly experienced staff by calling 1-800-411-3296 to learn more about the best solution on the market!


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