Do you ever wonder if you have to worry about ice dams on your house? If you own a home in Minnesota, you definitely need to keep an eye on your roof.  Ice dams can cause lots of problems for homeowners, and being prepared ahead of time can save you lots of money on repairs to your home. Here is what you need to know.

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Photo by Ása Steinarsdóttir on Unsplash
Photo by Ása Steinarsdóttir on Unsplash


Don't know what an ice dam is? An ice dam forms on your home when the water from melting snow freezes into ice at the edge of your roofline. That ice can develop larger and larger icicles that might grow large enough to stop melting snow from properly draining off of your roof.  If it cannot drain properly, it may start to back up underneath roof shingles and make its way into your home. has some advice to help you figure out if you do, indeed, have an ice dame, and what to do about it.

To determine IF you have an ice dam, look for these signs:

  • If icicles are confined to the gutters and there is no water trapped behind them, then an ice dam has probably NOT formed. But remember that icicles can be a precursor to the forming of ice dams. If possible you should always remove icicles from the exterior of your home. If you can't reach them yourself, you may want to hire a professional.
  • Check for water stains in your attic if possible, or look along the ceiling of the exterior wall of your home. If you find water stains it could mean that you have an ice dam.


You may not have the ability to do this without getting some professional help, or help from someone who might have the right tools to get the job done.

  • First, get a roof rake. You'll need to rake 3 to 40 feet of snow from the edge of your roof. This can be a delicate job, so you have to be really careful to not damage your shingles when completing this task.
  • Purchase Calcium chloride. This is a melting material that you'll need to help melt the ice damn.
  • Put the Calcium Chloride in a nylon stocking, and place the stocking vertically across the dam so it can melt a channel through the ice.
  • Cover any outdoor plants around the area with tarps before you begin, as the chloride can damage your plants and shrubbery if it drips on them.
  • If you cannot safely do this yourself, hire someone to complete the job for you.


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