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Fire & Water - Cleanup & Restoration

The danger of ice dams

1/17/2022 (Permalink)

Ice dam diagram This diagram show how an ice dam is formed

With winter fully upon us in West Michigan, the chances of dealing with a devastating water loss in your home are significantly higher than the rest of the year. Michigan winters bring challenges to homeowners that aren't seen in warmer parts of the country, and this can cause severe damage to your home or business if you are not careful. One of the biggest causes of winter time water damages are ice dams on your roof.

What is an ice dam?
An ice dam is a large build up of ice on the roof of a building that prevents water from melted snow or ice from draining safely off of your roof. Its formed when heat from the home escapes through the roof of the house and melts snow into water. This water will refreeze into solid ice and block further melted water from draining. With nowhere to go, standing water will start to find its way inside the building by seeping underneath the shingles. This water can cause massive damage to the ceilings and walls in your home, and can end up being very costly to repair.

How to remove an ice dam?
When an ice dam forms on your roof it is imperative that you take action to remove it immediately before it can cause any internal damage. One way to do this is to use a blunt mallet to break up the ice in chunks and remove it entirely. This is dangerous work and should only be done by a professional with roofing experience. Another way you can remove an ice dam is by filling a tube of pantyhose with calcium chloride. If you lay this tube horizontally across the dam it will melt over time and allow standing water to flow freely off of the roof.

How to prevent an ice dam?
Prevention is the best defense against an ice dam, and can save you a lot of trouble and money. Scraping snow off the roof is a good preventative measure, preventing it from ever melting and forming ice. Proper insulation will also help in preventing ice dams. Heat escaping through the roof of a building is the main cause of ice dams. Proper insulation will also have the added benefit of lowering the cost of heating your home.

If you have water damage from an ice dam be sure to give us a call! (616) 647-4300

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