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 NJ contractor since 1994, and a father, and husband. Contact me for all your construction questions.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Ice on the Roof

With the weather the way it is today, you are looking at getting ice damns. The rain is a good thing to get rid of all this snow, but with the temps we are having you are looking at ice dams. As I stated before,
leaves and snow are simple, but when it comes to clearing layers of frozen ice from your fragile gutters is a daunting task. Many home- owners or any property managers face ice-dammed and snow-capped roofs every season. Here are a few ideas you the home-owner or property manager can do for eliminating those icy conditions.
  • Start the winter season with completely cleared gutters before the ice and snow even start. Ice is less likely to build up and cause dams if there is nothing in your gutters before the temperatures drop.
  • Check your downspouts for any blockages. Clear any debris from the downspouts, if you do this melting water from the gutter ice will begin to run off immediately.
  • To remove the excess snow from the roof, use a roof rake by pulling the snow in a downward direction from the roof slopes. Don't pull the snow across the roof because you can start breaking off shingles. 
  • You can, very carefully use a chisel, large screwdriver or the back of a hammer to chip away at a small portion of the gutter ice. But don't start chipping until you have gotten all the snow swept off the roof. You only need to chip enough ice away to get a even water can flow. It is very important to chip gently, the gutters probly are already under an enormous strain.
  • Hose down the gutter with hot water if at all possible. This step is optional, and could be tricky to accpolish. As long as you have gotten the snow is cleared off the roof, gutter ice will melt quickly as the temperatures rise. It may even be possible to hose down the gutter to melt the ice. Only use a hose with a spray nozzle and if you can produce hot water. Of course, the temperature must be warm enough for the water to not freeze again.
  • Installing gutter guards, and aluminum heating panels or wire mesh heating guards will also help prevent ice dams. You can also have installed custom heating systems that are designed to stop ice before it solidifies on your roof and also in your gutter. This is a option that could be expensive, but one that would save you time and money every winter.