25 Burncoat Street, Worcester, MA 01605
Phone (508) 853-8080 Fax (508) 853-8800

Prepare Home Now for Ice Dams This Winter

As Colder Weather and Winter Months Approach, Consider Being Pro-Active to Prevent or Minimize Ice Dams and Protect Your Home with These Useful Tips!!!…

Do you know what an ice dam can do to your home?
An ice dam can do serious damage to both your roof and the inside of your house. It can also destroy your gutters and downspouts. If the ice dam breaks free, it can pull shingles and gutters off with it, and can damage anything it falls on like shrubs, windowsills, cars, pets, and people! And, if the roof sheathing stays wet, mildew can form and rot the sheathing. Not good.

Ice dams happen when water from melting snow runs
down the surface of your roof and refreezes. As the cycle
of freezing and melting continues, ice builds up and begins
to “dam.” Sometimes the pooled water finds its way under
shingles and refreezes, lifting the shingles from the roof
deck and creating a spot for water to enter your house.


The time to prevent ice dams is before the weather
gets bad.

A qualified contractor can help by:
Sealing all points where warm air leaks from the living space
into the attic.
Insulating the attic space well enough to prevent conduction
and convection of heat through the ceilings in the living space.
Installation of proper ventilation in the attic to include soffit
ventilation and ridge ventilation to ensure heat that does
sneak into the attic is carried away.
Cleaning out your gutters, being prepared, sealing air
leaks, insulating your attic, and properly venting your attic
space can save you money and headaches when the cold
air descends. Your contractor can recommend the best
options to insulate and seal your attic space—and present
the best way to get rid of any warm air that sneaks into
your attic.


Before the first flake:
After the leaves have fallen, have your gutters cleaned so
that when it snows, it will melt and go down the gutter like
it’s supposed to.
Buy a roof rake before they sell out (and avoid paying
top dollar!).

After a lot of flakes:
Keep gutters clear of snow, including the bottom of the
downspouts so that when snow melts the water flows freely.
Use your roof rake to remove snow from the roof and gutter
line. Danger: Be aware of electrical wiring!
Some people remove the bottom section of downspouts so
that they don’t get clogged and back up if they are buried
in the snow!

Use a melting agent like calcium chloride—available at your
local hardware store. Do not use rock salt! Rock salt can
damage paint, “drain” pipes, and plants beneath the eaves—
wherever the salty water drains. As always, when dealing
with any chemicals, be mindful of children and pets!

Helpful hint: To make a pathway for the water to drain,
take a leg from an old pair of panty hose, fill with calcium
chloride, tie it off, and lay it vertically across the ice dam.
This will slowly melt its way through the ice dam, clearing
a path for the melted water underneath.
If you have to chip the ice away, never use an axe, blowtorch,
or hammer (or anything that may damage the shingles)
and again, always be mindful of the location of all electric
wiring. Use a ladder to access the area and have a partner
hold the ladder steady—watch for falling icicles!

As always, if you think the situation is unsafe or dangerous,
consider hiring a licensed and insured contractor to complete
the work.