Removing Ice Dams: Hacks on Ice Dams You Shouldn’t Try

You may have read some hack methods of removing ice dams on your own; employing such tricks as salting your roof, using an ax to chip away at the ice, or even taking a torch to melt away your troubles. These techniques are not only dangerous, but can destroy your roof and lead to long term damage, which decreases the value of your home. What’s more is that many of these hacks are not even worth the time and money.  Most home insurers will advise you “don’t try this yourself.”


There are a variety of ways you can use salt to melt ice “naturally”. The problem with using salt or ice melting tablets is that it’s corrosive to your shingles and causes further damage to your gutters. Roof tablets are mostly ineffective and do not get rid of the ice dam. Salt filled pantyhose are just as ineffective as the tablets. Both tend to be effective only in their designated areas or will roll right off your roof.


Sharp or Blunt Objects

Using tools to chip, hack or bludgeon the ice dam away will lead to roof damage. Even experienced professionals with the right equipment can easily cause damage by a slip of the tool. This is quite risky to the person attempting to remove the ice and to those around them.



Heating Cables

Not a terrible idea. However, these are not designed for ice dams and are likely to look unattractive on your roof. Some may be effective in preventing future ice dams from forming. Depending on the various types of cables you use, they may present a safety hazard because too much snow on them will cause them to overheat. Heating cables will also cost you the more money the more you use these energy suckers.


High-Temperature Pressure Washer

Removing ice with hot water is a time-consuming endeavor. Often the water does not reach temperatures high enough to remove all the ice in a timely fashion. This can lead to an excess of melted water on your roof which is the very cause of ice dams to begin with!  Steam will be hot enough, but not having professional training may cause more problems than when you started.


Blow Torch

This is highly dangerous and unadvised. Mixing elements such as fire and ice intuitively makes sense, but without proper training on how to use the device, and being experienced with working on roofs can lead to a potentially fatal result. If you thought some corrosion from salt or ice melting tablets was bad, how about lighting your house on fire?



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