Preventing ice dams from forming is an important step in protecting your house from snow and ice damage. By having a solid snow removal plan in place before the winter, the accumulation can be managed before ice dams have to be removed professionally. By planning ahead, you can get on top of the snow and ice removal job before it gets to the point of disaster.
Start by checking out the property. A sloped roof helps, because a roof rake can be used to remove the snow from the roof before it gets too built up. Make sure the roof rake you get is long enough to reach onto the roof from the ground, without using a ladder if possible. The other part of the plan is what to do with the snow once its on the ground. try and spy out any areas where the snow can be piled up, preferably within a short distance, but keep in mind that more snow and ice may accumulate before the first batch has a chance to melt away.
You may also want to look into ice melt tablets for those hard to reach areas. These hockey puck chunks of calcium chloride can be tossed onto the roof from the ground, and they can provide longer term ice melting benefits. Another option is to fill a nylon stocking full of ice melt and lay it across the gutter, which should eventually make a path for the melting snow and ice to escape the wall the ice dam has formed. Having these items on hand is an important part of your snow removal plan.
A good ice chopper is good to have on hand, although its application in the removal of ice dams may be limited by the homewonwer’s ability to get close enough to the ice dam to use it without compromising safety. Sometimes brute force is required, however, and a good ice chopper will work far more effectively then using the edge of a shovel.
Prevention of ice dams is better then having to deal with built up ice dams – once the ice dam requires removal by a professional, you will be competing with other homeowners in the same situation – calling in an expensive pro to handle the task. Of course once it gets to that point, the snow removal professionals will have to begin the long process of manually chipping the ice out, which is not only time consuming but also can be expensive and dangerous.