ice dam removal

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  #1  
Old 01-01-10, 07:00 PM
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ice dam removal

Has anyone tried roof melt pucks? Do they work?I just closed on my home last Monday and discovered a Ice dam had formed on the East side of the house.We had a lot of freezing rain and snow mixed.I inspected the attic and it is properly vented and insulated.I have removed the snow from the roof but the ice doesn't want to melt so far.A local hardware store told me about these roof melt pucks but were sold out.Any input would be much appreciated.
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grousedude
 
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  #2  
Old 01-02-10, 01:19 AM
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Hi grousedude and welcome to the forum. Never could hit those buggers on the wing, so took to sneaking up on them. Sure are tasty.

You will still need to address why the ice formed, but the immediate issue is removing what is there. If the area gets any sun, removing the snow will help. I have only heard about the pucks, but nothing bad. Only issue to me would be if the dam caused any leaking to the inside of the home, would the pucks make that worse? I don't know.

I have had to remove many, but the bigger hammer solution can be rough on the roof. If any force is used, make sure it is on a warm or sunny day so the ice releases from the shingles.

One attempt I was preparing for, saved by a warm spell, was to test some heat lamps on a small area. The thought was the lamps would warm the roof below to both release the ice and melt it. I have the lamp, just never tested it. You would want to be careful not to overheat the shingles, but a slow and patient approach might work. Do let me know if you try it.

How large of an area are you dealing with?

As for why it formed and preventing more build up, you have taken step one, remove the snow. Step two is determine why the snow melted. There is a very narrow range of temperature where the snow will melt at the roof surface, yet freeze as it reaches the edge. That build up process simply continues until a dam is created and water is able to leak under the shingles.

Since you say the insulation and venting look good, check for an air leak into the attic. Vent pipes, drop ceilings, dormers, and other structural areas are often not sealed or sealed with fiberglass insulation which does not stop air flow.

If this is the south side and you have dark shingles, the sun can be an issue. But the solution is still the same, remove the heat before it can melt the snow.

Good luck,
Bud
 
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Old 01-02-10, 07:48 AM
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thanks for the info.We had about 2" of freezeing rain and I think that may be the cause of the damn.The area is about 20 ft long.It's on the east side of the roof and the sun doesn't hit it very well since the house is built into a big hill.

Grouse are a tasty bird and hard to hit.My daughter is the shooting master and shows dad how it's done.lol

thanks
 
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Old 01-02-10, 11:00 AM
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Not that you want to use salt on the roof, but during our 98 MASSIVE ice storm the building owner put down over 50 bags of salt on the business parking lot, only to have it melt down through and run off, leaving 4" of ice behind. We eventually pulled out his fork lift and got under it where the salt had melted it free from the asphalt. In your case, the pucks might simply melt and drain under the ice, leaving it in place.

One of the important steps, while the ice is there, is to open a channel for water to drain. This prevents it from backing up under the shingles. So it may be good to at least test the pucks in one area to see how they do.

My youngest daughter shot at one deer, got one squirrel, and chased a white rabbit all over the place, she was 10 and had a ball. But the experience has stayed with her and she enjoys the outdoors, even hopes to do some hunting if she ever moves back to our area.

Bud
 
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Old 01-26-11, 09:17 AM
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Lightbulb Ice Dam Study

Hi all,
Canada has dealt with some serious icing problems. After the last major one, they did some research and the results can be found at this link. The part on what to do for current ice dams and what not to use is particularly interesting.
Removing Ice on Roofs | CMHC

I hope this helps.
 
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Old 02-03-11, 02:45 PM
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Thumbs up saw this on tv today and tried it out. It is working!!!!

I was watching the news this morning and saw a school in Ma. that was having real ice dam problems. The guy saw something on This Old House he was trying. You fill the leggs of pantyhose with melt salt and tie it off. then you place it vertical on the roof so the edge is on top of the ice dam. I had salt and one set of pantyhose so I told my husband what the heck it can't hurt to try. We are having water drip through the celings and in the window frames through the walls into the lower level our our house flooding the celler. It has only been an hour and I can already see a major trough forming in the dam! I am heading out now for more salt and pantyhose!! I can't believe how well it is working. Any salt on the lawn issue is minor compaired to the damage from water leaking into our home. Hope it works as well for you, I know I'm thrilled!!
 
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Old 01-07-13, 12:29 PM
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Well, this thread is only two years old so I hope that doesn't go over the age test for posts on here.

Have ice dams on our house. Was thinking of getting a bucket of the roof melt pucks mentioned in the first post in this thread. Checked the link from the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation mentioned in one of the posts.

They specifically mention that you should avoid using any products on your roof that include Calcium Chloride or Sodium Chloride (salt).

Went to the company website that produces them. They proudly claim that the pucks are designed to prevent damage to roofs and are made from Calcium Chloride. Boo.

I guess I'm back to the old fashioned method of getting up on the ladder and raking the snow off from the top down. Again, boo.

Sadly I can't figure out why we're getting ice dams as the bonehead that built our house just put another roof over the original one when he built an addition.
 
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Old 01-07-13, 01:13 PM
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Hi bill,
Most ice dam issues are easy to sort out. Warm air and heat leaking into the attic are the source of the problem, so insulation and air sealing are the first step. In most cases, the air sealing involves a few large leak areas. The small ones count, but any reasonable level of ventilation can handle small leaks.

Once the heat source is reduced, the ventilation can be addressed if necessary.

As you said, while you are sorting out where to start, simply remove the snow. If you have a large accumulation of ice already, exposing it to the sun can help release it from the shingles. More on that if needed.

Bud
 
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Old 01-07-13, 01:25 PM
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Thanks Bud. Some day soon I'll have to get up in the attic and take a better look at things. Not sure what I can do about the double roof situation. I didn't even know it was there. When we had our woodstove installed, the installer was up there with his sawzall cutting the hole for the chimney he came down at one point with a weird look on his face and said "You've got two roofs!" He said he'd seen it a number of times in our area.

Every time I think about that it's kind of concerning. Can't tell what's in between the two. Not sure if it matters. I'll have to do some checking on the venting up there though.
 
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