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How to Melt Ice Dams

New Englander’s already know about the damaging effects of ice dams and, at this point, there isn’t a gutter in the Northeast that is free of ice. As the weather begins to warm, water runoff from the roof will be trapped by the dam and routed back up the roof finding its way under shingles and into the house. A permanent solution for ice dam formation likely requires adding insulation, sealing, and ventilation in the attic. In the meantime, here’s a trick that will help to lessen the damage from the existing ice dams.

Fill the leg of a pair of nylon hosiery with ice melt – calcium chloride. This will minimize the amount of ice melt is use, is easy to use and minimizing the mess. Lay the hose onto the roof so it crosses the ice dam and overhangs the gutter. Use a long garden tool to position the sock if necessary. The calcium chloride will eventually melt through the snow and ice and create a channel for water to flow away from the roof.