Do you have icicles hanging from your gutters? Is there a wall of ice slowly forming along the edge of your roof? If so, you likely have an ice dam. Ice dams can cause severe damage to your home, including leaks, water damage, and mold growth.

They occur when melting snow freezes again on your roof, forming a dam that prevents water from draining properly. As the ice dam grows, it can back up under shingles and cause leaks.

So, what can you do about an ice dam? This ultimate guide will show you how to safely and effectively remove an ice dam. We’ll also share some tips on preventing ice dams from forming in the first place.

What Is An Ice Dam?

An ice dam is a ridge of ice that forms along the roof’s edge during periods of heavy snowfall or extended cold weather. Ice dams form when the temperature at the roof’s surface is warmer than the temperature of the snow on the roof. As the snow melts, it flows down to the colder edge of the roof, where it refreezes into ice.

This process forms a dam that blocks further melting snow from flowing off the roof. The water trapped behind the ice dam can back up under shingles, leaking into your home and causing water damage.

Additionally, the weight of the ice can cause severe damage to your gutters and roofing materials. They can also be a hazard to pedestrians walking below if they were to break off and fall.

Best Ways to Get Rid of Ice Dams

If you live in an area that gets a lot of snow, chances are you’ve had to deal with ice dams at some point. Ice dams can be a real pain, causing water to leak into your home and damaging your roof. But don’t worry, there are ways to get rid of existing ice dams. Here are some of the best:

1. Blow Cold Air Through Your Attic

Hot air rising from your house is one of the main causes of ice dams. To prevent them, you need to make sure your attic is well-ventilated. The best way to do this is to install a ridge vent or soffit vent. These will allow cold air to flow into your attic, keeping it at the same temperature as the outside air. Hence, helping with the existing ice dam removal.

2. Rake Your Roof

When snow accumulates on your roof, it can act as an insulator, trapping heat underneath. This can cause ice dams to form. Simply rake off the snow from your roof after every storm to deal with it. It won’t cause any damage to your shingles and will go a long way in preventing ice dams.

3. Use A Deicer

Several products on the market can help you get rid of ice dam problem. These include calcium chloride ice melt solution and sodium chloride, which are found at most hardware stores. Apply the product to the area where the ice dam is formed, which will help melt it away.

4. Heated Cables

Another option for removing ice dams is installing heated cables along your roofline. These cables heat up the area around them, melting any snow or ice that comes into contact with them. This is a more permanent solution, but it can be quite expensive.

5. Call A Professional

If you’re still having trouble removing ice dams, it’s best to call a professional from Roofing Texas Pros. We’re able to assess the situation and recommend the best course of action. In most cases, we will safely remove the ice dam without causing any damage to your roof.

How To Remove an Ice Dam on Your Roof?

If you have an ice dam on your roof, removing it as soon as possible is important. An ice dam can cause severe damage to your roof and home if it’s not removed properly.

What Tools And Equipment Will You Need?

To remove an ice dam, the roofers will need a few tools and pieces of equipment. These include:

  • A ladder: You will need a ladder to reach the roof’s ice dam. Be sure that the ladder is securely placed before attempting to climb it.
  • An ice pick or chisel: You will use this tool to break up the ice dam into smaller pieces.
  • A snow rake: This tool can be used to remove snow from your roof without damaging the shingles.
  • A garden hose: The garden hose can be used to melt the ice dam with hot water.

What Are The Steps For Removing an Ice Dam?

The following are the steps for removing an ice dam for roofers. Remember not to try yourself unless you’re an expert.

  • Climb the ladder and reach the ice dam.
  • Use the ice pick or chisel to break up the ice dam into smaller pieces.
  • Use the snow rake to remove the smaller pieces of ice from your roof.
  • Turn on the garden hose and direct the hot water onto the remaining ice dam.
  • Continue doing this until the ice dam is completely melted.

If you follow these steps, you should be able to safely and effectively remove an ice dam from your roof. Be sure to exercise caution while working on your roof, as it can be dangerous if you slip and fall.

What To Avoid While Removing Ice Dam?

You’ll want to avoid a few things while removing an ice dam from your roof.

  • First, never use an ax or any other sharp tool to chip away at the ice. Not only is this dangerous, but it can also damage your roof.
  • Also, don’t use salt or any other chemicals to melt the ice. These can also be damaging to your roof. Instead, try using a steam cleaner or hot water to melt the ice.
  • Ensure you’re careful not to slip and fall while removing the ice dam. Use caution and take your time to avoid any accidents.
  • You should also avoid walking on the ice dam itself. This can cause the ice to break and collapse, which can be very dangerous.
  • Finally, make sure you don’t leave any tools or equipment on your roof. This can damage your roof or pose a safety hazard.

Following these simple tips can safely and effectively remove an ice dam from your roof.

How To Prevent Ice Dams In The Future?

Ice dams can be a serious problem for any home, especially during winter. If not properly dealt with, they can cause extensive damage to your roof and even lead to leaks inside your home. Fortunately, you can do a few things to help prevent ice dams from forming in the first place.

1. Gutter Maintenance

One of the best ways to prevent ice dams is to make sure your gutters and downspouts are clean and free of debris. Leaves, sticks, and other debris can clog up your gutters and downspouts, which can then prevent water from draining properly. As a result, water will back up behind the dam and eventually leak into your home.

2. Ventilation Design

Your attic should be properly ventilated to help prevent ice dams from forming. Hot air rising from your living space can enter the attic and warm the underside of the roof, which can then melt the snow and ice on the roof. This melted water will then run down the roof and refreeze at the edge, causing an ice dam to form.

3. Insulation

Proper insulation in your attic can also help prevent ice dams from forming. Keeping the attic space cooler can help prevent the melting and refreezing of water that leads to ice dam formation.

4. Heating Cables

Another way to prevent ice dams is to install heating cables along the edges of your roof. These cables will help melt any snow and ice that may build up, preventing an ice dam from forming.

5. Snow Removal

One of the best ways to prevent ice dams is to remove snow from your roof on a regular basis. This can be done with a roof rake or by hiring a professional snow removal service. By keeping the snow off your roof, you can help prevent it from melting and refreezing, which can then lead to an ice dam forming.


Does Ice Dam Damage The Roof?

Ice dams can cause extensive damage to your roof. The weight of the ice can damage shingles and gutters, and the water that backs up behind the dam can seep into your home, causing water damage to ceilings, walls, and floors.

What Causes An Ice Dam?

Ice dams are caused by a combination of factors, including cold weather, heat loss from your home, and insufficient attic insulation. When heat escapes from your home, it warms the air in your attic. This warmer air melts the snow on your roof, which then runs down to the colder edges of your roof, where it freezes again. As this process repeats, an ice dam can form.

Do Ice Dams Always Cause Damage?

No, not always. An ice dam can form without causing any damage to your home. However, if the ice dam grows large enough, it can cause damage to your roof and gutters, and water can back up behind the dam and leak into your home.

Do Skylights Cause Ice Dams?

Skylights can contribute to ice dams but are not the primary cause. The main cause of ice dams is heat loss from your home. However, if a skylight is leaking heat, it can make the problem worse by melting more snow on your roof.

Should You Knock Icicles Off Gutters?

Yes, you should knock icicles off your gutters. Icicles are a sign that an ice dam is forming, and the weight of the icicles can damage your gutters. But be sure to do it safely. Use a broom or brush, and never stand on a ladder while knocking icicles off your gutters.

Is Ice Damming Common?

Ice damming is more common in areas that get a lot of snowfall. However, it can occur in any area where there is a combination of cold weather and heat loss from your home.

Does New Roof Help Ice Dams?

Installing a new roof will not prevent ice dams from forming, but it can help to reduce the risk. A new roof will be better insulated than an old one, which will help keep heat inside your home where it belongs.

Will Insurance Cover Leaking Skylight?

Most homeowners’ insurance policies will cover damage caused by an ice dam, including water damage from a leaking skylight. However, it is always a good idea to check with your insurance company to be sure.

Do Gutters Make Ice Dams Worse?

No, gutters do not make ice dams worse. In fact, they can actually help to prevent them by channeling the water away from your home. However, if your gutters are clogged with leaves and debris, they will not be able to do their job properly, and this can lead to water damage. Be sure to keep your gutters clean and clear all year long.


If you have an ice dam, the best course of action is to remove it as quickly as possible. There are a few different ways that you can do this, but the best method will depend on the size and severity of the problem. Whichever method you choose, be sure to consider caution and safety to avoid accidents.

You can get rid of that ice dam and protect your home from further damage with a little effort. We hope you enjoyed this article and found it helpful. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to leave them below. We would love to hear from you.

Last Updated: July 27, 2022 / Categories: Construction & Renovation, Roofing & Gutters / 9.8 min read / Tags: , , , /

About the Author: Brian Stilts

Brian Stilts

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