You can also use several homemade “throw socks” to do the melting work.
Here’s how to do it:
Fill an old tube sock with ice melt granules.
Tie the sock closed and leave a long “retrieval rope” attached to the sock. Throw the sock up on your roof and position the sock on the roof above the ice dam.
The ice melt approach may take time to work, but it is much safer than going up on a high roof to manually eliminate the dam.
What to do if an ice dam causes an active roof leak?
The big problem comes when you have an ice dam that is causing water to come inside your home.
You may have to put up with the leak until professional help arrives.
If the weather has been bad and there are a lot of other homeowners seeking emergency ice dam work, you may end up waiting hours (if not days) for someone to come help you.
That may mean there’s a lot of water dripping into buckets in your house!
Easily accessible roof
If the ice dam is on a low roof that you can safely get at via a ladder, you may want to see if you can quickly stop the water leak by removing the dam yourself.
See the video below on how you might accomplish this:
Avoid the temptation to hack away at the ice dam. You can inadvertently cause a lot of damage to your roof by being rough.
Go easy on hammering and be very careful with any pointy objects.
The bottom line with all DIY ice dam projects: when in doubt, stop and call a professional – and don’t go up on the roof!
Root causes of the ice dam problem
You may have to wait until warm weather comes to MA to address the causes of your ice dam problems.
Here are some links to sites addressing the common problems with poor ventilation and inadequate insulation that lead to ice dams; the sites provide tips on how to prevent dams from occurring in the first place:
So the next time after a major snow storm in Massachusetts you marvel at all the pretty icicles hanging down from area rooftops, think of ice dams and the steps homeowners can take to prevent the damage ice dams can cause!