Preventing Ice Dam Damages to Your Home

By KBJR News 1

March 20, 2013 Updated Mar 20, 2013 at 5:50 PM CST

Hermantown, MN (NNCNOW.com) --- Though it's the first day of Spring, recent snowfall is taking a toll on many roofs across the Northland.

Ice dam removers are busy clearing snow and ice from the tops of homes and businesses.

Warren Berg, of Hermantown got ahead of a potential problem.

He called in Perrault Construction to remove the ice dam on his roof.

"In the 40 years I've been out here, it's never been this bad," Berg said.

Recent snowfall and fluctuating temperatures are the perfect mix for ice dams.

"We get six to eight inches of snow, and then we get two or three days of 35-40 degree weather," Adam Perrault, of Perrault Construction said.

Warren's ice dam was caused by heat from inside his home.

It rose to the attic and warmed the underside of the roof. Melted water flowed down the roof, under the thick blanket of snow until it reached the cold overhang, and froze in the gutter.

When the snow melts, it can't drain properly. It eventually makes its way under the shingles and into the wall system.

"There's a lot of snow and weight because of that ice, so it's a good idea to get it off the roof when it gets so heavy like that," Jim Perrault of Perrault Construction said.

To prevent costly damages to your home, consider addressing insulation and ventilation issues in your attic. Circular air flow helps to prevent heat buildup that melts snow.

If you do decide to get on the roof yourself, be careful.

"Removing snow from a roof is not a one man job,” J. Perrault said. “You really should have two people there so you don't fall off,"

"To keep from damaging the roof, I suggest using something that doesn't have a sharp tip for a shovel, A. Perrault said. “Always shovel downhill. If you shovel sideways or uphill, that's when you catch a shingle."

Cleaning debris from the gutters before the first snowfall will also help prevent ice build-up.

Removing snow from your roof can cost upwards of $50.

Some professionals also use special steam equipment to remove ice dams.

Jennifer Walch
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