Relentless Winter Causes More Ice Dams

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Are there big icicles hanging from your roof? They could be a sign of an ice dam. Experts say this winter's heavy snow and frigid temperatures have created more ice dams than usual. They're formed when heat escapes through the roof, melts the snow, and creates a thick ridge of ice along the roof line.

If left alone, the icy displays can damage your roof, and allow water inside your home. Ed Love is the Program Manager for the non-profit organization called Michigan Energy Options. "I've seen some people get up on their roofs and start going at these ice dams with hammers and things and trying to break them up and that's not a good idea. You're going to damage your roof, rip shingles off and such and cause a bigger problem."

One safe way to fight ice dams, is to use a roof rake. They cost about $40 but have been hard to come by. Denny Perdue at Vet's Ace Hardware in Lansing says the rakes are flying off the shelves as soon as they come in.

"The truck's just here and we've got a fresh supply, so they'll be gone before the weekend I'm sure." There are other products like Roof Melt. The calcium chloride pellets can be thrown on a roof to melt the ice. Love says, "If you've got a pretty arm, and accurate arm, that will work." But Love says the best way to deal with ice dams, is to stop them from happening in the first place. All it takes is a well-insulated attic. "You want to keep the roof the same temperature as the outside, and that prevents the ice damming."

If you can't remove the ice dam yourself, you can find a service provider in your phone book or online. To learn more about how to keep your home well-insulated, call Michigan Energy Options at (517) 337-0422 for a home energy consultation.