Ice on a roof is something that is inevitable every winter, and while a little bit of ice won’t cause any trouble, too much can do some serious damage. Ice dams, falling icicles, and frozen gutters can all be serious problems if they are left unchecked, but there are a few ways you can get rid of them. Here are some tips for de-icing your roof this winter.
Use a Snow Rake
Before you do anything else, remove the snow on your roof using a snow rake. A snow rake is a retractable rake that can extend to about 17 feet, which is long enough to reach the roof of the average house. Stand on the ground (never on the roof itself), and use the rake to scrape excess snow off of your roof. This will not only keep the snow from melting and refreezing into a sheet of ice on your roof, but it will relieve the snow load that could be putting stress on your house itself. You may also be able to use a rake to remove icicles that are in danger of falling and causing damage.
Chip Away at the Ice
If you have an ice dam on your roof that is easy to reach, you might be able to chip some of it away with an ice pick or a hatchet. Stand on a sturdy ladder (once again, not on your roof) and chip away at the dam. You don’t need to remove all of the ice, just enough to create a channel that allows a steady stream of water.
Use a Chemical De-Icer
Chemical de-icers contain ingredients such as urea fertilizer, ammonium sulfate, potassium chloride and other materials that can melt ice. They are also readily available at most home improvement stores. Choose a product that you think will work best for your situation, and follow the instructions as closely as possible for the best results.
Finally, you can place heat cables on your roof to melt some of the ice on your roof. Heat cables are electrical cables that can be installed on parts of your roof that don’t have enough insulation to keep water from freezing. It may not help you if you already have problems with ice dams, but they will keep new dams from forming.