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Fire & Water - Cleanup & Restoration

Ice Dams and Water Leaks

2/13/2018 (Permalink)

Water Damage Ice Dams and Water Leaks Illustration of an Ice Dam

Tips for Removing Ice Dams

Residents in northern Illinois have been dealing with record–setting snow and even though wintertime icicles may look charming, they usually signal a serious and costly problem. Hidden behind the ice is water that can work its way under roof shingles and leak into your home or business. If left untreated, ice dams can cause serious damage to your roof, gutters, paint, insulation, drywall, structure and even contribute to mold. There are several things you can do to avoid getting an ice dam or to reduce the risk of damage after one has formed.

How do ice dams form?

Ice dams can form whenever water from melting snow re-freezes at the edge of your roof-line. Without room snow removal, an ice dam may grow large enough to prevent water from draining off the roof. This water can then back up underneath roof shingles and make its way into your home or business.

Preventing Ice Dams

  • If possible, have snow removed from your roof after every storm

  • Use a roof rake to clear snow from the edge of your roof upwards of three to four feet immediately after each storm. In addition to helping prevent an ice dam from forming, this will lessen the stress on your home’s roof. The amount of snow and ice your roof can support will depend on a number of factors, including the roof type and the age and condition of the structure. Keep in mind - if more than a foot of heavy, wet snow and ice has accumulated on your roof, you should have it removed by a professional.
  • Clear downspouts

Dealing With Existing Ice Dams

  • An easy way to help snow and ice drain off of your roof is to make sure the area around your downspouts is clear. This can help prevent standing water from collecting near the gutter downspout.
  • Melt the ice dam

    (Fill a nylon stocking with calcium chloride ice melt, and place it vertically across the ice dam so that it melts a channel through the dam. If you try this, make sure you can safely position the ice melt on your roof, and make sure to use calcium chloride, not rock salt. Rock salt will damage your roof. Also, be aware that shrubbery and plants near the gutters or downspouts may be damaged.)
  • Seek a trained professional's help removing ice

Checklist before SERVPRO arrives:

  • If you cannot safely reach the roof, avoid using a ladder in snowy and icy conditions. Consider hiring a contractor to remove the ice dam.
  • Disconnect the electrical and remove electronics from the affected area

  • Call your insurance company! Many insurance companies will cover the damage caused by ice dams.

  • Before any professional cleanup, photograph and document the damage.

  • Remove standing water

  • Remove mold-prone items if possible

  • If possible, open the windows to circulate air or use a fan.

  • Once the ice damn is removed from your roof, contact SERVPRO of LaGrange/Burr Ridge/Hinsdale to professionally clean, dry, and disinfect the area. Water damage in your home due to ice dams is an unfortunate situation, but SERVPRO of LaGrange/Burr Ridge/Hinsdale will happily clean up any damage. Protect your roof and home from the hazards of ice dams and call us today at 630-920-9334.

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