Angie's List: An ice dam deterrent for all climates

BRIDGEPORT, W. Va. (WDTV) -- Ice dams occur when warm air from the attic melts snow on the roof and that water freezes. Getting rid of them can be dangerous because it requires someone to go one-on-one with the ice.

Courtesy: Angie's List

“If you’re tackling removing an ice dam yourself, the number one concern you should have is for your safety. Be sure you have a buddy who’s going to help you with the ladder because remember, it’s snowy and icy out,” said Angie Hicks, founder of Angie's List.

You can try deicing pellets that look like white hockey pucks to clear ice, and roof rakes to clear snow yourself. But Angie says it’s a good idea to do a self-evaluation and consider your tool collection before you climb up to roof height.

“If you’re not in good shape or you’re afraid of heights like I am, this is probably not a do-it-yourself job for you. Hiring a handyman or even a roofer to come tackle this job, they’ll have the right equipment and the right safety gear,” said Hicks.

To prevent ice dams, make sure you don’t already have a problem in your attic. That means two things must be in place: enough insulation and proper ventilation, which includes exhaust through the roof line and intake vents in the soffit, or eave, area.

“Provided that your roof is installed properly, you should never have any problems,” said Standifer, ABC Roofing president.

Adequate insulation is the best preventative. Unfortunately, two-thirds of American homes don’t have enough.

“Your insulation should be almost up to – depending on how tall you are – up to your knee. But thirteen-and-a-half inches, twelve inches, I mean you’re going to be okay,” said Standifer.

Properly insulation and home sealing can save you ten to twenty percent on yearly utility costs. An average pro insulation job costs about $2,000.