If you live in Michigan you know winter has arrived when you see heavy blankets of snow and icicles hanging down over the roof of your home. However, the pretty snow and ice presents a danger to your home – ice dams.
After a few days of typical Michigan weather consisting of melting and freezing cycles, it is not uncommon for the melted snow and ice to work its way under the shingles on your roof until water finds its way into your attic. This water can do a considerable amount of damage to the walls, ceilings and contents of your home. Ice dams that are undetected over long periods of time can really take a toll on the structure of your home, resulting in a big repair bil for structure damage and flood cleanup service.
Ice dams are formed when the outside air temperatures are under the freezing mark for a few days in a row and when you have several inches of snow on your roof. One thing you can do to prevent ice dams is to maintain an attic temperature in the low twenties. While this is no guarantee that you will not get ice dams, it can indeed help. Be sure to eliminate any heat sources in your attic. Take a good look at the type of insulation you have in place in the attic as well as the ventilation. If your insulation is old, have it replaced and be sure that any and all vents are in good working order.
Michigan winters typically include a good deal of snow so be sure to remove the snow from your roof as soon as it accumulates over a few inches. There are some handy tools on the market that make this task easier by standing on the ground and ‘raking’ the snow off the roof. It is never advisable to climb on a snowy roof as you could easily fall so do the snow removal from ground level.
If you notice long icicles hanging along the edge of your roof, it is time to take action because they are a sign of ice dams. One temporary solution that works very well in melting snow and ice from your roof is an ice dam sock. You just need to buy a chemical deicer that is deemed safe for use on roofs and then pour the mixture inside the leg of a nylon stocking. Simply tie the stocking closed and then lay it on the roof so it crosses the dam and hangs over the gutter. Eventually the snow and ice will melt and a channel will have been created, allowing the water to flow down into the gutters and off the roof.