If you’ve experienced at least one Colorado winter, you know how many problems too much ice and snow can cause. Heavy snowfall can all but ruin your visibility when you travel, and too much ice can make it hard to walk on the sidewalk without slipping and falling. The weather can cause problems for your home as well, especially if you have an ice dam form on your roof. An ice dam is a thick buildup of ice that blocks your roof’s gutter system and prevents water from flowing down to the ground. If it isn’t removed, water could eventually work its way underneath your shingles and cause wood to warp and your ceiling to leak. Fortunately, as troublesome as ice dams can be during the winter, they can be repaired if you follow these tips.

Spotting an Ice Dam

Since it’s totally understandable if you don’t want to climb up a ladder onto your roof to take a closer look at a possible ice dam, we recommend simply looking up at your roof periodically during the winter. If you see icicles hanging from your gutters, you probably have the beginnings of an ice dam forming on your roof. Some other signs of an ice dam include water running down the outer walls of your home, and water penetrating into your home’s interior. The latter sign is an indicator that your ice dam has gotten to the point where it is causing a leak and should be tended to as soon as possible.

Rethink Your Insulation

Ice dams are formed when ice and snow continuously thaws and refreezes on your roof. This is caused by heat escaping through the roof, which in turn is caused by poor insulation. Warm air that escapes through a poorly-insulated attic can cause ice and snow on the roof to melt away. This might not sound like a bad thing, but when temperatures outside are below freezing, all the water freezes again into thick dams before it has a chance to flow down to the ground.

While ice dam removal should be left to a professional roofing contractor, you can help prevent one from forming in the first place by improving the insulation in your attic. This will prevent most of the heat from escaping through your roof, which will, in turn, allow all the ice and snow on your roof to melt evenly and flow through your gutters freely before it has a chance to form an ice dam.

Remove Snow From Your Roof

While a little bit of snow won’t hurt your roof or cause an ice dam to form, too much of it is a problem and should be removed. This sounds like it would be difficult, but there are special snow rakes that can brush most of the snow off your roof without requiring you to set foot on it. You should be able to find them at most department stores, most likely wherever snow shovels are sold.

Chip Away At Ice If You Can

If you can climb up a ladder and see solid ice jamming your gutters, you can use an ice pick to chip some of it away. You should be able to chip away enough of it to allow a channel of water to flow through. Running water won’t freeze as easily as standing water, so this should stop the cycle of freezing and thawing.

Avoid Salt and Calcium Chloride

Although there are products that can melt ice on your roof when it is used correctly, you should avoid anything that contains salt or calcium chloride. Even though they will remove an ice dam fairly easily, they can also corrode your shingles and harm grass and plants.

Contact a Professional

While you might be able to remove snow from the edge of your roof or chip away some of the ice in your gutters, you should never attempt to fix any problem with your roof in your own. If you feel that you cannot remove an ice dam on your own or repair the damage that it has caused, contact the professional roofers at HomeGuard Roofing & Restoration. We service clients throughout the Denver metro area, and we specialize in removing ice dams and repairing leaks in roofs. For more information about our services, contact HomeGuard Roofing & Restoration today.