Ice Dam Remedies:
Using ice melt for roofs is a double edged sword. The homeowner must weigh the options - Ice dams can cause leaks in your roof requiring expensive repairs inside and outside of your home. Heavy ice and snow buildup can cause roofs to sag or collapse, gutters to bend or break away from the structure. Large dangerous icicles are also a serious safety liability. Chemical ice melting agents can help alleviate these issues, However care needs to be taken to reduce the amount of potential damage to the roof and surrounding structures from these melting agents.
Important Topics When Considering Ice Dam Removal:
- Is there a risk of water leaking into the home or business from the ice dam?
- Is there a safety risk from falling ice or snow?
- Is there a risk of excessive weight from ice or snow damaging the roof, gutters and other structures?
If you answer yes to any of these points, then the problem needs to be addressed.
Traditional Ice Dam Solutions:
SALTNETS IS NOT RECOMMENDING ANY PARTICULAR METHOD OF REMOVAL. ICE DAM PROBLEMS CAN BE UNIQUE AND MAY REQUIRE A CUSTOM SOLUTION. IF YOU NEED TO REMOVE A SNOW OR AN ICE DAM PLEASE CALL A QUALIFIED PROFESSIONAL. TAKE THE TIME TO CHECK THAT THEY ARE LICENSED AND BONDED. CALL YOUR INSURANCE AGENT AND ENSURE THAT YOUR HOMEOWNERS INSURANCE COVERAGE WILL PROTECT YOU IN THE EVENT OF CONTRACTOR INJURY OR DAMAGE CAUSED BY CONTRACTORS.
1. Manually breaking up ice/snow with tools — hammers, picks, shovels, etc…
- This method is incredibly dangerous — snow or ice covered roofs are slippery and already compromised with excessive weight. In addition to the risk of falling, there are risks from broken ice and dropped tools that are dangerous to homeowners as well as the most qualified professionals.
2. Spreading un-contained melting agents onto the roof
- Removal by spreading loose melting agents also has the risk of falls in addition to the corrosive damage caused by melting agents. The amount of loose salt needed to cover even a small roof is several hundred pounds. Getting this to the roof is very dangerous and ineffective. The crystals will not stay in place and are difficult to effectively remove once applied.
3. Electric heating mats.
- Electric heating mats are effective at melting ice, however they pose a serious risk of electrocution from wet extension cords as well as the risk of fire. The rapid changes in temperature from turning the mats on and off may loosen structural materials through expansion and contraction.
These are commonly referenced ice dam remedies, however they all pose serious risks of personal injury and structural damage. If you decide that the risks from the ice/snow is significant enough to use melting agents on your roof, please follow these recommendations to help minimize the potential for damage.
We are not recommending using chloride based melting agents on your roof, however we understand that these products are being used in this manner. We are simply advising how to reduce the impact of the melting agents.
Plan the Removal:
- What type of shingles or roof material do you have? Is it susceptible to stain or corrosion from chlorides?
- What type of fasteners are holding the roof material in place? Are they susceptible to corrosion?
- What is below the ice dam? Will it be damaged by falling ice or the brine (saltwater) runoff?
When used as directed, Saltnets mats can be an effective option for ice dam management. Our patented melting agent containment system offers significant advantages.
Advantages of Melting Agent Containment:
- Targeted Application - directly targets the problem area
- Controlled Release - only releases melting agent when needed
- Easily Removed - simply pick up the mat and store it for the next use
If you have decided that it is worth the associated risks to use Saltnets® to remove an ice dam, here are some tips to help reduce the chance of damage.
To maximize their effectiveness place the mats at the beginning or upslope edge of the targeted ice dam. Saltnets® will release melting agents in the form of a liquid brine and this will melt through the ice and snow and flow underneath to break up the bond between the surface and the ice and snow. CAUTION: this process is attempting to break the bond that is holding the ice and snow onto the targeted surface possibly causing pieces to break free and fall. Care needs be taken to clear the area to prevent injury people, pets, wildlife as well as property damage.
If the area is at risk for falling ice, then the mats may be placed directly on top of the ice dam. The mat will begin melting the ice from the top reducing the chance of breaking the bond underneath the ice. This method also aids in reducing the size of the ice dam.
If the surface material is at risk of damage or staining from the melting agents. Place the mats at the lowest possible point of the ice dam. This will help keep the brine off the surface and reduce the area exposed to runoff.
For surfaces that are corrosion/stain resistant Saltnets mats can be placed at the highest point above the problem area. The mats will ensure the melting agent stays in place and as the snow and ice is melted the runoff with help clear the areas below.
When melting is complete, remove the mats and store them in a plastic or other air tight container for the next application. Removing them immediately after melting reduces the amount of salt released onto your roof.
Please remember — chemical melting agents may damage exposed aluminum and other non coated ferrous metals. Coatings may help reduce the possibility of galvanic corrosion of these materials, check with a licensed contractor about corrosive resistant materials if you notice damage to your property and need to replace or repair it.