Breaking the Ice: Avoiding Ice Dams

Protect your home this winter by learning more about ice dams and how to avoid them.
SECURA Insurance

Do you have ice on your roof? It could be an ice dam. Sure, the icicles hanging on the eaves of your house make for a picturesque, Instagram-worthy scene, but did you know they can spell big problems for your home? With the significant amount of snow Minnesota receives each winter, the same conditions that cause those pretty icicles can also lead to ice dams.

What Is an Ice Dam?

An ice dam is a blockage formed by melting snow that freezes along the roof edges and gutters. As ice builds up, it can trap water that will eventually seep through the seams of your roof shingles. This can cause significant damage to your walls, insulation, ceiling and other areas.

What Can I Do About Ice Dams?

During the winter months, it’s all about damage control. If you see ice dams forming on your property, here is what you can do to minimize the potential damage:

  • Remove Excess Snow: If more than a foot of snow falls, remove it by using a roof rake or push broom from the safety of the ground. Carefully and very lightly sweep the rake or broom down the slope of the roof line. Never pull snow sideways across the roof or it may break off the shingles. It isn’t necessary to remove all of the ice in the gutters or the ice dam itself as long as you have removed the snow from the roof.
  • Bring the Heat: Sprinkle the ice buildup with lawn fertilizer that contains urea particles (found at most hardware or home and garden stores). The higher the nitrogen content in the fertilizer, the faster the ice will melt. Don’t use driveway salt, which can kill your plants and grass.
  • Break the Ice: Don’t allow icicles to hang from the roofline or gutters. Carefully break them off and move them away from the foundation of your home.
  • Don’t Risk Your Life: Most importantly, be safe! It is always the best idea to allow a professional to remove an actual ice dam. Unless you’ve had proper training, removing an ice dam can be quite dangerous and risks more damage to your roof and severe personal injury to yourself if you are not careful. We strongly recommend contacting professionals with the proper equipment and roofing experience to carry out this job.

Contact your independent insurance agent today to discuss SECURA’s MILE-STONE® home and auto package policy to protect you from the unexpected.