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Ice Dam Preparation Can Save From Major Headaches

Posted at: 11/27/2012 8:41 PM
Updated at: 11/27/2012 10:17 PM
By: Dietrich Nissen

(ABC 6 News) -- As winter approaches, some experts say it may be a good time to check your roof for needed repairs. The concern is snow and ice may melt into the cracks and refreeze, creating what's known as an ice dam.

It's been two years since Krista Milnes has had to deal with snow.

"We ended up getting a snow blower after that," says Milnes. Back then, it wasn't so much the snow as it was what the snow could do to the new home owner's roof.

"We worried about it with the different- having the different levels with the garage and the house," says Milnes.

"Normally you'll see a build up of ice at the soffit. Right on the roof. And then you'll see a lot of icicles," says Sawyer.

In his ten years at KW Billman Roofing, Gary Sawyer says he can't stress enough how important it is to have a fixed roof.

"It can get inside the house and into the insulation. Once the insulation is wet. It has to be taken out," says Sawyer. Depending on your home, he says that's a job that can cost homeowners thousands of dollars in repair work, and something you don't want to do yourself.

"We've been on some jobs where the homeowners taken an ax and tried to chip it away. They damaged a lot of shingles by chopping away with an axe. It's not the proper way to do it," says Sawyer.

Instead, the company uses commercial steamers to take care of the dangling icicles that could fall and hurt someone. But before the snow falls, Milnes says now's a good time to start preparing.

"Just to make sure you clear it off and be aware of what's going on when it's melting, especially in the Spring," says Milnes. Minnesota's Department of Commerce recommends not installing or using heating cables which could shorten your roof's lifespan. In addition, the group says to avoid roof vents as well.