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How to prevent ice dam problems before it’s too late

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DULUTH, MN-- It's a problem homeowner's in the Northland know too well.

Ice dams cause thousands of dollars in damages to homes every year due to ice build-up on eves that trap melting snow.

Ben Wasche, Managing Director at Hamilton Monroe & Co., recently found himself the victim of an ice dam.

"I didn't actually find it, my better half found it at about 5 in the morning. When we heard water dripping into the kitchen onto the floor," Wasche said.

Wasche says the water dripping was as thick as a pencil, coming from a sheetrock crack in the ceiling.

It Caused thousands of dollars in damage.

"Well, we had a lot of sheetrock get wet. Then what will typically end up happening like in our case the water ran down a corner of the sheetrock into some of the handrails and then into the wood floor and wood trim. By the time you see it the damage is typically worse than what you are actually seeing," Wasche said.

Hans Casperson, Owner of Duluth Tree Service, says sometimes what you can see may help avoid the problem altogether.

"The first thing you look for is a big pile of ice on the eveline. If you have that check underneath check your soffit's. See if you have any water or icicles coming out from under the soffit or eve. Check your siding look for ice or water on the siding. Those are all indicators your ice damage has become problematic," Casperson said.

Casperson also says if you do notice signs of an ice dam on your roof it is important to be pro-active.

"The best way to prevent an ice dam is to remove all the snow from your house. If you have no snow on your house, you can't get an ice dam. Once they are there the best way to prevent an ice dam is to treat it with steam," Casperson said.

If ice does form around the roofline it can sometimes be removed manually by using ice picks.

If it can not be removed it is recommended to get professional help before serious damage starts.

John Cardinale

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