Not all ice dams need to be removed. Ice dams that are small that form along the edge of a roof and are not causing pooling or leaking through the shingles may not need to be removed. If you have lived in your home for a while, you probably know the areas of your roof that are prone to leaking or ice dam related problems. If you have done all you can with insulation, ventilation, and gap sealing, then focusing on snow removal in these areas is important.
If you are new to your home or are experiencing ice dams for the first time, the following is what you should look for:
- Identify where icicles and ice along your roof is forming. If you can, safely remove the snow above these areas. These are the areas to watch both inside and outside of your home.
- Water that is trickling from your roof and/or freezing on the outside of your home. If the water or ice is an odd color (typically a mustard color), it is water that is coming through the siding from inside your home. This is a serious problem and the ice dam needs to be removed via steaming immediately. If water is trickling or ice is forming through the soffit or through the soffit vents. This is a serious problem and the ice dam needs to be removed via steaming immediately.
- Ceiling stains and/or stains are forming on your walls. Don't wait, this is a serious problem and the ice dam needs to be removed via steaming immediately.
- Water is pooling inside cupboards, water is dripping through electrical outlets, or wood floors are buckling. These are all signs of serious water damage. Contact your insurance agent immediately. Your insurance might pay for all or some of the cost, less the deductible, to have your ice dam or dams removed. Be sure to understand exactly what your insurance agent will pay for. Some insurance companies will not pay anything for ice dam removal. Some will pay for just the ice dam that is believed to be causing the damage. Some will pay to have all the ice dams removed (rare). In any event, serious water damage is occurring and your problem ice dams need to be removed via steaming.