Here are several ways to spot, prevent, and remove ice dams around your house or business.
What Is an Ice Dam?
Ice dams can be extremely damaging to your home or office. Taking just a few prevention tips can have an enormous difference in the amount of damage you experience each Winter. Ice Dams form when there is excessive melting snow freezes over night at the edge of your roofline. When there is an extended amount of time where extreme Winter Weather is present and proper snow removal is not done, the ice at the edge of your roofline can grow large enough to prevent water from draining off the roof when it does melt. This can cause the rain to not be able to drain off your roof and move underneath your roofs shingles. Eventually it could cause the water to back-up into the house.
Prior Prevention is key to preventing Ice Dams
There are some steps you can take prior to a Winter Storm that can go a long way towards preventing ice dams from occurring at your home or office. During the day snow melts when it is exposed to warmer temperatures and sun light. Each night the melted show has a tendency to remelt and build up around the edge of your roof. Here are a few tips to prevent this from happening.
- Properly Insulate your attic – Each fall it is important for you or a trained professional to inspect your attic for proper insulation to help prevent warmth from escaping through ceilings.
- Prevent air leaks – Thoroughly check and seal any openings where warm air or heat could escape from your attic. Keeping more of the warm air in can prevent parts of your roofline from continuing to allow melted snow to refreeze.
- Ensure proper ventilation – If need be, it may be beneficial to increase the number or size of vents in the attic and on the top floor of your building. These vents allow cold air to properly circulate and flush warmer air in to the proper areas of your house.
- Install a water-repellent membrane under shingles – When building a new house or when replacing parts of your roof, it can be very beneficial to install a water-repellent membrane underneath the roofs’ shingles.
How to Remove an Ice Dam
Removing an ice dam from your roof immediately after spotting one is essential to preventing damage to your home or office. Calcium Chloride is a great product to use to speed up the process of removing any potential ice dam. Our partners at Travelers Insurance came up with this 5 step process for removing an ice dam.
Step 1. Using a roof rake, remove snow 3-4 feet from the edge of your roof, being careful not to damage the roof covering or to allow snow to build up around walking paths or to block emergency exits.
Step 2. Use a calcium chloride ice melt product, which you can generally purchase from your local hardware store. Be sure not to use rock salt or sodium chloride, which can damage your roof.
Step 3. Fill a nylon stocking with the calcium chloride ice melt.
Step 4. Safely place and position the calcium chloride-filled nylon stocking vertically across the ice dam so that it can melt a channel through the ice.
Step 5. Cover and protect any shrubbery and plants with lightweight tarps near the gutters or downspouts for the duration that the calcium chloride stockings remain in place. This is important because the calcium chloride-saturated water dripping from the roof may damage the shrubbery and plants.
Tips to Prevent Ice Dams from creating in the future
Ice dams can frequently form despite your best efforts to keep your property safe. Keeping the entire building at a safe temperature is a good place to start when attempting to prevent ice dams. It is equally important to monitor the weather and maintain your roof throughout the coldest portions of the Winter. During these months your property may need additional protection against ice dams. Some of the best steps you can take include:
- Keep your gutters clean – In order to prevent water from accumulating and freezing inside your gutters, start in the fall by adequately cleaning leaves, debris and snow accumulation from your gutters and downspouts.
- Remove snow quickly after each storm – As soon as it is possible for your to safely remove the snow from your roof after a storm the better it is to prevent ice dams from forming. There are tools like roof rakes that are designed specifically for this purpose. Whenever possible, clear the snow on your roof for about three to four feet from the edge of your roof. Snow accumulation along the edge of your roof increases the likelihood of an ice dam developing, which prevents water from draining off the roof. This water can then back up underneath roof shingles and make its way into your home.
- Remove Ice Dams early and often – During a Winter Storm, it is important to check your roof often to spot any trouble spots that may be forming. Removing these spots earlier in the storm can go a long way towards saving you property from facing immense damage down the road.
This Winter has been a colder then average year for a majority of the country. When the temperatures plummet life keeps churning along. For this reason, many people are forced to get out and driving in dangerous conditions in order to get to work. Here are several tips to help you get to where your going safe and sound.
Preparing Your Vehicle
Stocking your car with a Winter Weather Survival Kit is a great idea to prepare yourself for the unfortunate event that you are stuck in your car for an extended period of time. Additionally you should have proper maintenance done to prepare your vehicle for the colder months. Much of the maintenance that needs to be done depends upon the area in which you live and how cold it actually gets. Additional antifreeze is needed in many parts of the country as well as keeping chains available for when ice is on the roads.
Watching the Weather
Keeping an eye on the weather forecast is important during the Winter Months. Most snow and Winter Weather Storms are known a few days in advance. If you are at work and you know a storm is coming in at 5:00 PM. It might be a good day to leave the office at 3:00 PM. Keeping an eye on the weather can help you be prepared when the conditions are less than ideal.
The only way to drive safely on ice is to go slow. Four wheel drive will help you get out when you are stuck in the ditch, but it will not make your brakes miraculously work when you hit a patch of black ice. When you do hit ice it will only mean you have four tires slipping instead of two. Driving slowly and giving yourself plenty of distance is always the best way to drive when you are dealing with snow and ice.
Breaking Down or Getting Stuck
Having a Winter Safety Kit in your car is the first step to dealing with a situation where you are stuck on the roads when the temperatures are cold. Many sporting goods stores have many of the supplies you may need to keep handy. An emergency sleeping bag or at least a blanket should be available. Some snacks and bottled water are a good idea as well.
The best way to prevent having to use any of these tips is to stay off the roads and do not drive unless you absolutely have to.
Tips to Protect your Car, Home, or Business during the Winter Months
Winter weather can bring extreme conditions that can have adverse impacts on your car, home, or business. It does not have to take an enormous amount of time and effort to be prepared for the colder weather. Here are several tips to help you prepare your car, home, and small business for the Winter Weather Season.
- Tires – Make sure to check the tread on your tires and ensure they are inflated to the correct PSI for the conditions of your area.
- Anti-Freeze – Make sure to correctly mix the anti-freeze properly for the conditions you will face in your area. If you are not certain how to do this, it is always best to have this done by a trained professional.
- Gas Tank – Make a habit to keep more than a half a tank of gas in your car at all times during the cold months of the year. If you do get stuck somewhere for an extended period, it may mean the difference between a small inconvenience, a trip tot he hospital, or something worse.
- Keep a safe driving distance – When you have to be out driving in snowy or icy conditions, the only way to do this safely is to go slow and give yourself room. Even if your vehicle has four wheel drive, in most cases this only helps a vehicle to get out of a situation where they are stuck. It will not prevent you from slipping on ice. Make sure to go very slow and keep more than adequate room between yourself and other vehicles.
- Have your Furnace inspected yearly – It is best to do this early in the year. That way you are not tempted to turn on the heat when you unexpectedly get the first bit of Winter Weather.
- Have someone check on your Chimney before using it – Just like with your furnace, it is best to have your chimney checked early in the season. That way you are not tempted to go ahead and make a fire for the kids the first time it dips a little cold in the Fall.
- Be safe with Christmas Lights – Everyone loves to get in the Christmas spirit by decorating their house with Christmas Lights, but these lights bring with them a fire hazard. Make sure you are not plugging too many lights in to any one outlet.
- Clean out the gutters – Clean gutters can prevent snow and rain from causing other problems throughout your house.
- Seal all leaks throughout your house – This is important all year long, but is especially important in the Winter. Closing any leaks can save immensely on your energy bill and help your family live a more comfortable life in the Winter.
Snow Removal – If you live in an area where you experience a lot of snow, buy snow shovels and salt for the parking lot early. Consider consulting with a snow removal business to have your parking lot cleared when there is big snow.
Communicate with Employees – Today we are living in a hyper-connected world. This gives you many options to communicate with your staff when you either are or are not going to be open. Have a system for communication in place and test it when the weather is optimal so you know what you need to fix before Winter Weather hits.
Limit the use of space heaters – It is difficult to keep your business at a comfortable temperature for everyone in your office. If you do allow some employees to use