For too many of us, a snowy winter means the possible return of a rooftop issue that on average costs about five-thousand dollars to fix. Our Angie’s List report takes on ice dams: what they are, what to do about them and why the cure is good for any climate.
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Ice dams occur when warm air from the attic melts snow on the roof and that water freezes. Getting rid of them can be dangerous because it requires someone to go one-on-one with the ice.
Angie Hicks, Angie’s List Founder, says, “If you’re tackling removing an ice dam yourself, the number one concern you should have is for your safety. Be sure you have a buddy who’s going to help you with the ladder because remember, it’s snowy and icy out.”
You can try deicing pellets that look like white hockey pucks to clear ice, and roof rakes to clear snow yourself. But Angie says it’s a good idea to do a self-evaluation and consider your tool collection before you climb up to roof height.
Hicks says, “If you’re not in good shape or you’re afraid of heights like I am, this is probably not a do-it-yourself job for you. Hiring a handyman or even a roofer to come tackle this job … they’ll have the right equipment and the right safety gear.”
To prevent ice dams, make sure you don’t already have a problem in your attic. That means two things must be in place: enough insulation and proper ventilation, which includes exhaust through the roofline and intake vents in the soffit, or eave, area.
Rod Standifer, ABC Roofing Preisdent, says, “Provided that your roof is installed properly, you should never have any problems.”
Adequate insulation is the best preventative. Unfortunately, two-thirds of American homes don’t have enough.
“Your insulation should be almost up to – depending on how tall you are – up to your knee. But thirteen-and-a-half inches, twelve inches, I mean you’re going to be okay,” said Standifer
Properly insulation and home sealing can save you ten to twenty percent on yearly utility costs. An average pro insulation job costs about two-thousand dollars.
If you want to try D-I-Y, Angie says check out tips on Angie’s List dot-com to determine what you’re up against and what you need before you start.