Thawing snow build ice dams


MASON CITY, Iowa – Ice dams are building on rooftops all across the country and that could mean a leaky roof and a hefty bill this spring.

It didn’t take much convincing for Mike Martzahn to clear his roof of snow this season, especially since he’s dealt with the problem in the past.

This year, he got ahead of the problem and went to Cutting Edge Tree Services for advice.

“The more it melts the more freezes the more it gets harder and you can’t get it off. The more it builds up and that’s where it’s just perpetual,” said Martzahn.

Mike isn’t the only one dealing with the issue and it’s keeping those like Kevin Hardy at Cutting Edge busy this season.

Hardy says their focus this time of year is the thawing snow on your roof and how damaging it could be.

“In most cases the problem is with a low-pitched roof. Just getting the snow off the roof and in most cases improperly installed insulation or a lack of installation is often times the root of the problem,” said Hardy.

Ice dams are created when warm air from your home and warm temps melt snow on your roof.

The results, are sheets of ice clogging gutters and leaking water into your home.

Luckily, the problem is easy to spot.

“If you look at your house and you look at the edge and you see it’s actually getting thicker on the edge of the house then it is on the top of the roof then you really need to discuss it,” said Martzahn.

“We do recommend that people keep their gutters clear. We also have some customers in the past who have installed a heat tape in their gutters, downspouts and even throughout the valleys,” said Hardy.

According to State Farm Insurance, each year millions of winter damage claims are made across the US for issues concerning leaks.

While most of those claims are usually for burst pipes, Kevin Hardy says anything you can do to avoid leaks of any kind will save you a lot of money and headache in the long run.

Here are some helpful hints on ways to avoid ice dams in the future.

-Clean out gutters before snowfalls.

-Make sure your attic is well ventilated and well insulated as well.

-Install gutter guards to keep debris from clogging.

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