How to Properly Remove Ice Dams in Your Home’s Roof

One of the greatest wintertime threats to the stability of your roof is ice dams. Although their long, dazzling icicles might look lovely from the outside, they could seriously harm your roof and result in a great deal of water damage.

If you want to understand how to remove ice jams properly, roof contractors in Birmingham, AL, can help. See our comprehensive guidelines below.

Ice Dams: Why Do They Exist?

An ice dam is a ridge of ice that forms on the edge of your roof. Due to the ice buildup, melting snow higher up on your roof cannot glide off and leaks through your roof and into the insulation.

If left to their own devices, ice dams can ruin gutter systems, result in significant water damage to your home, and be expensive to repair once spring arrives. It is in your best advantage to take action if your home is prone to ice dams before more snow accumulates and prevents you from minimizing its harmful effects.

5 Practical Hints For Properly Removing Ice Dams

Although the only long-term solution to ice dams is to have your roofer replace the ventilation or insulation issues within your roof, there are a few ways to handle the situation until you can get your roof addressed permanently.

Warning: Do not attempt to chip or hack away at existing ice blocks. Using a shovel or ice pick to break up the ice will certainly cause more damage than just clearing ice blockages and harming your roof and gutters.

1. Ventilate Your Attic With Frigid Air

When snow on your roof reaches the chilly borders of your roof, it will remain there and freeze into an ice dam. This will occur when heated air rises through your home’s roof. You may avoid this by aiming fans directly at your roof in the attic, where the problem starts.

Ice dams can be avoided by cooling the underside of your roof, as snow won’t melt at all under such conditions.

2. Rake Snow Off Your Roof 

Another technique to prevent ice dams is to remove the snow off your roof before it has a chance to melt. The integrity of your roof is worth maintaining, even if you have to do some manual labor.

Raking snow off your roof can help you avoid ice dams, but you must exercise caution. Ensure to avoid damaging the shingles by investing in a rake made exclusively for clearing snow off roofs. 

Most roof rakes are long enough to remove snow while standing securely on the ground and feature wheels to protect the tiles. If you go outside after each snowfall, your roof won’t form ice jams.

3. Have Heated Cables Installed 

Heated wires make ice dams much easier to fix because they virtually stop them from developing in the first place. Watch as the snow on your roof melts when heated cables are vertically in a zigzag pattern. As a result, ice dams won’t form when the snow freezes.

The only exception is that the heated cables must be installed before the first snowfall. With clips, heated cables can be easily fastened to the roof.

4. Use Calcium Chloride Deicer

Deicing your roof is the most effective way to eliminate ice jams that have already developed. It’s important to remember, though, that if you use calcium chloride to deice your roof, you should protect any plants beneath the gutters because they will die from prolonged exposure to the chemical.

To effectively deice your roof, fill a nylon stocking with calcium chloride and hang it perpendicular to the roof’s edge. Once the stocking is in the proper location, ice dams will begin to melt. You may need to use a rake or long-handled broom to get it there.

5. Speak To A Roofing Professional

If you’re not sure you can effectively handle ice jams, you can always contact an expert. Call your neighborhood roofing specialist if you’re not up to that this winter. In the frigid winters of Michigan, most ice dam removal processes are laborious and time-consuming.

Any ice dams currently there will be removed for you by specialists on roofing in Birmingham, AL, who will also develop a strategy to keep them at bay until you have time to do a long-term roof repair.


Getting your roof restored is the greatest way to stop ice dams in their tracks, even though these options are great short-term solutions. If they’ve already developed, you’ll encounter them once again.

Whether you don’t have enough insulation or your roof isn’t properly vented, you’ll sometimes need to engage a professional roofing company in Birmingham, AL, to get your roof fixed permanently so that ice dams don’t form in the first place.

5 Star Roofing and Restoration provides residential roofing, complete roof tear-offs, and commercial flat roofing systems in Greater Birmingham. We offer Industry leading manufacturers and labor warranties. 5 Star Roofing & Restoration is fully licensed and insured. Contact roof contractors in Birmingham, AL, today!

Birmingham, AL

209 Oxmoor Circle
Birmingham, AL 35209

(205) 518-8433

Mobile, AL

601 Bel Air Blvd
Suite 209
Mobile, AL 36606

(251) 405-3553

Madison, AL

7169 US-72,
Suite A #102
Madison, AL 35758

(256) 210-1700

Franklin, TN

1550 W McEwen Dr.
Suite 300
Franklin, TN 37067

(615) 814-4550

Daphne, AL

6384 Bayfront Park Dr. Suite B
Daphne, AL 36526

(251) 405-3553
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