Ice Dams: What are they? How can you prevent them?

LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – Icicles known as “ice dams” that hang along the sides of your house during winter may look beautiful, but they can be dangerous.

“The ice dams form right across the edge of the gutter and these could break and come down, hit you in the head, they could break your windows,” said Anthony Salazar; Handyman with Doug’s Handyman Service.

Salazar says ice dams form inside gutters during the cold winter months and can sometimes be problematic.

“The ice can get so heavy and the icicles can get so heavy on the gutters that it will actually pull your gutters away from the house and make them fall,” Salazar stated.

“It can cause thousands of dollars of damage because the water can get under the shingles and leaks in to your attic, leaks into your walls,” said Edgar Villavicencio; Department Supervisor at the Home Depot in Okemos.

Salazar says when it comes to preventing any damages there are two key factors you should consider…the condition of your gutters and the temperature outside.

“Clean your gutters twice a year, spring and fall,” said Salazar.

Salazar also recommends purchasing a heat chord before the winter months to get a jump start on thawing the ice if it starts to form.

“It comes in 12, 60, 80 and 100 foot lengths,” Salazar stated.

“They clip right into your shingles and it just heats up the snow and makes it flow properly,” said Villavicencio.

Villavicencio also suggests using a shovel to rake your roof when it snows.

You can also use a product called “Roof Melt.”

But what Villavicencio doesn’t recommend is this…

“I know a lot of people like to grab a hammer and break it but that way you can damage your shingles and then it will cost you a lot more,” said Villavicencio.

Both experts say while ice dams look pretty from the outside, they should not be ignored.

The good news is there are ways you can prevent a problem from happening and the sooner you do that, the better.