Preventing ice dams on roofs during cold-to-warm cycle this week

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SPRINGFIELD, Mass (WWLP) — Western Massachusetts was hit by a major snowstorm last week. Snowfall totals reached over 2 feet in some areas. And of course, a lot of that snow is sitting on our roofs. Your first line of defense against roof damage is to keep your gutters clean. If your gutters are blocked, the water from melting snow backs up, and then it refreezes and leads to something called ice damming.

Ice dams are simple to explain. First, of course we need a snowfall, like we saw last week. Then, as the heat in your home rises, it melts the snow that’s on the roof. The melted snow then collects at the end of your roof and refreezes. As the ice freezes it can build back up into your roof forming the dam. Melting water from the warm roof can back up behind the dam, causing water to flow under the shingles and leak into your home.

If you’ve got snow on your roof, it’s best to leave it on unless you are able to clean it completely off, rather than partially. Partial clearing of snow can increase your chance of ice damming. As long as your roof is up to code, it can stand the weight of snow.

“You want to make sure that you’re checking your roof for ice dams. Check for… large quantities of ice in your gutters and make sure your gutters are clear. You want it cleared out,” Robert Parent, an assistant manager at Rocky’s Ace Hardware, told 22News.

Using ice dam pucks or salt from the hardware store to treat ice dams could do more harm than good. They can discolor your roof and corrode roof nails. Instead, try to prevent, or go for professional help.

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