Preventing ice dams: Experts show you how to clear ice, snow from roof before thaw

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Wednesday, February 17, 2021
Experts show how to prevent ice dams on your roof
Ken McKendree, a partner in Countryside Roofing, shows how you can use a roof rake to help prevent ice dams and potential water leaks.

ROSELLE, Ill. (WLS) -- Heavy snow and ice building up on rooftops is a real concern right now for many homeowners. Roofing experts show how you can help prevent ice dams and potential water leaks during next week's thaw.

Roofing companies are working to clearing away some of the accumulation that can lead to ice dams and other trouble. They suggest using a roof rake to help prevent ice dams and potential water leaks.

"We're just trying to get this clear so that it doesn't build up any more," said Ken McKendree, a partner in Countryside Roofing.

McKendree said insufficient insulation and lack of ventilation are two big issues that can lead to large patches of thick ice dams, usually at the end of the roof beyond the walls of the house.

"This area of the roof is very cold obviously, because it's not heated," McKendree said.

SEE ALSO | How much snow can a roof hold?

Wondering how much more snow your roof can bear? ABC7 meteorologist Larry Mowry breaks down the weight of snow.

When the snow behind that ice thaws, it has nowhere to drain and can get into the house. For more serious ice buildup, you may need to remove the ice. That's what this crew is doing. They are literally using a chisel to chip away at the ice that has built up around the gutters.

"What we do is, we take off the snow above the area that is compromised at the moment, so there's no more thaw, and that obviously eliminates the issue," said Zachary Tennison, with Champion Roofing.

Most winters this is not a huge problem, but Champion Roofing said it has been inundated with calls to remove ice dams. They've been working from sun-up to sundown for the last couple weeks, with no help from Mother Nature.

"The problem is that you have 40 inches of snow in 30-something days and it hasn't reached above freezing," Tennison said.

He suggested getting snow cleared off before the thaw. That's when water that has no place to go can end up inside your house.