Everything You Need to Know About the Ice Dam Removal Process

Everything You Need to Know About the Ice Dam Removal Process

We’re no strangers to snow and ice here in the Milwaukee area. With an average of 45 inches of snow expected each year, it’s only a matter of time before it starts to take a toll on your home. One of the most significant risks is ice dams, but many homeowners don’t know how to approach the ice dam removal process. 

We’re here to help. In this guide, you’ll learn more about how ice dams can damage your home, the dos and don’ts of removing them, and how to tell when it’s time to call in the help of a professional. 

The Dangers of Ice Dams

Before you start removing ice dams, it’s helpful to understand what causes them in the first place. When it snows, the warm air inside your attic can transfer through your roof. As a result, the snow starts to melt, sliding down the slope of your roof

When the melted snow reaches the edge of your roof, it then refreezes since the air from the attic doesn’t reach the overhang. As this process continues, you’ll eventually get a thick layer of ice around the edge of your roof, which is an ice dam. 

When this water can’t drain off the edge of your roof, it can start to seep under your shingles, putting your roof at risk of leaking and causing water damage in your home. Your gutters are also at risk. When an ice dam gets too heavy, it can fall off your roof, bringing down your gutters simultaneously.

ice dam removal

The Dos and Don’ts of Ice Dam Removal

If you want to remove ice dams yourself, there are a few best practices you should keep in mind. 

Don’t: Climb Your Roof

You can attempt to manually push the snow off your roof, but only if you can reach it from the ground. If you can safely reach the snow on the roof using a roof rake while you walk around your home, that can help clear the impacted area. However, remember to stand far enough away so that the snow and ice don’t fall on you. 

If you have to climb the roof to reach the snow, don’t. Instead, contact a professional roofing company like Semper Fi Roofing & Exteriors. 

Don’t: Use Hot Water

At Semper Fi, we use gentle steam to remove ice dams, which unlike a pressure washer, utilizes steam to remove ice. Our tools use lower pressure so it won’t damage your roofing material, and with 290 degree steam, it creates less water run off and faster ice removal.

Don’t: Use Chemicals

You might be tempted to use a combination of chemicals to remove the ice dam on your roof, but doing so may cause damage to your asphalt shingles. Instead of risking further damage to your roof, opt for a different removal method. 

Don’t: Chip Away at the Ice With a Shovel

You might think that using a metal shovel would be an effective way to chip away at the ice formation on your roof. If you try this, you might end up damaging your shingles in the process. It’s also very dangerous and not worth the risk. 

Do: Consider Installing Heat Cables

If you’re sick of trying to remove ice dams each year, stop them at the source and prevent them from forming in the future with heating cables. You can hire a roofing company to install them for you during the summer so you won’t have to worry about ice dams once winter comes around again.

When to Call in the Help of a Professional

The fact is that when ice dams form on your roof, you’ll almost always need to contact a professional roofing company to remove them for you. When you hire a professional, they’ll have access to the necessary tools and equipment to safely remove ice dams and they can check the state of your roof in the process to identify any potential issues.

Trust the Semper Fi Roofing & Exteriors Team

Prevent roof issues this winter by hiring the Semper Fi Roofing & Exteriors team for ice dam removal services. At the first sign of an ice dam, contact us to help eliminate the problem so you don’t have to worry about water damage to your home. Click here for a free quote!