Unlike people who live in the South, you probably enjoy the winter weather that comes with living in a Northern state. It provides a traditional winter that can only be appreciated by seeing the beauty of morning snow across a lawn and the footprints of children, along with the ice angels and snowmen who are bound to appear later in the day. Unfortunately, winter weather can also cause additional stress on the structure of your house’s design. Ice dams are a particular nuisance you should be aware of and prepared to address as needed.

How to Identify an ice Dam:

In a worst case scenario, an ice dam is easy to identify because snow and ice are backed up along the pitch of your roof as melting water pours over the edge, unaffected by the proper drainage your gutters and spouts provide for the structure. Typical ice dams aren’t so dramatic but simply involve your gutters and perhaps lower roof being frozen. It causes the same problem, that of water not going where it’s supposed to be as ice melts or rain falls. If you don’t see a problem but know your gutters aren’t clogged with debris as water comes across them rather than moving to the downspout, you likely have a frozen ice dam.

Choosing a Contractor:

Dealing with an ice dam requires a specialist contractor for reasons of skill and experience along with specialized equipment to solve the problem. As with hiring any contractor, you should ideally ask for bids and a written contract before hiring someone. Ice dams, however, form quickly and require immediate resolution. Ask friends for recommendations, or better yet, you’ll already have an established relationship with a contractor you trust. Otherwise, you can trust an established local contractor to do the job quickly and efficiently without charging until you are satisfied with the work performed.

What to Expect:

Clearing an ice dam is not a “quick and easy” type of job. After bidding the price and drawing a contract, the contractor is going to lay out a heating strip to slowly thaw the ice dam without damaging your house. If your ice dam is the sort that only occurs every so often years, he’s going to leave a card so you can call him next time. If it’s an ongoing problem, the contractor may discuss a more permanent solution so you won’t need temporary fixes in the future.

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