Experts warn ice dams could cause roof leaks

Experts warn ice dams could cause roof leaks. // WSBT 22

Warmer air is causing some melting in our area and that means melting ice on your roof.

Experts warn some homeowners could see roof leaks as a result of ice dams forming.

Most dams occur on the lowest edge of your roof. Snow that has melted and refroze builds up with nowhere to go.

Large icicles are a tell-tale sign, but experts say it's dangerous to try to take care of these on your own.

"Because three years ago, I was taking the ice off myself and it knocked me off my ladder," said Fred Bickel, homeowner.

He was going after the ice dam on his roof that's sometimes caused by poor home insulation.

The more heat that escapes, the more water and ice it creates.

“And that starts building out and when you get to the bottom of the roof and starts freezing, well that ice has nowhere to go," said Marshall Long, Gean Roofing.

Ice on your walls is a dead giveaway that the ice has migrated inside to your wall cavity.

"If you start seeing the ice buildup and it's at least three or four inches past your gutter and it's probably six inches deep, that's when you should probably start thinking about getting at least salt on the roof," said Long.

He cautions using a roof rake yourself because some of the ice coming off your roof could be upwards of thirty or forty pounds, and you don't know where it could land."

Roofing experts know where to best lay a ladder so the ice both coming down and on the ground won't tip them over.

"I mean, you can really damage your roof if you go up there and just start going to town on it with a hammer," said Long.

Experts say sealing areas where heat can escape into the attic and getting a head start salting your roof before the icicles get bigger can stop crews from coming back.

Bickel said he won't battle the ice himself.

"Don't do it. It's not worth losing a leg or breaking your back or anything. Over, just have the professionals do it," said Bickel.

Experts also told WSBT 22 ice dams can occur with virtually no snow on your roof. Even a dusting of snow can create problems.

What is the best way to inspect for those traces then?

The best way is to really have a professional come in and inspect, because you can't always see ice dams from the ground.

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