Homeowners Beware: Ice Dams Could Cost You

By Rachel Slavik, WCCO-TV

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Many homeowners have an added expense this holiday season all thanks to the snow.

The problem is called ice dams, which form at the edge of roofs when the snow melts and refreezes. It is a type of problem homeowners want to address right away. If they don’t, they could be looking at some expensive home repairs.

WCCO-TV employee Sonya Goins experienced the problem firsthand when melting snow and ice seeped into her kitchen. She will have to pay to fix the damage as well as pay to get rid of the source of the problem, the ice.

So, preparing this year’s Christmas meal will be a bit of a challenge for Sonya Goins.

“Ice dam water damage,” said Goins. “I lived in this home for four years and I’ve never had this problem before. To be honest with you, I was shocked.”

Half of her kitchen is pretty much off-limits.

“All my dishes in my cabinets were wet,” said Goins. “This is bad!”

“I called a roofing company, and they came in and chiseled away all the ice and they also swept the roof. So, that helped, but it’s only a temporary fix,” Goins said.

Mike Hilborn, who owns Roof-to-Deck Restoration, which specializing in ice removal, says he can hardly keep up with demand.

“We have never seen anything like this,” said Hilborn. “We’ve moved all of our people and all of our equipment up from our Chicago and Milwaukee office just to handle the volume here.”

In a typical year, he may de-ice 30 houses total, but with all the snow this year, his people are melting ice on 30 homes a day.

It’s a service that can be a little pricey — typically hundreds of dollars.

“I’m looking at like $300,” said Goins. “Plus, I have to paint now and sand the wall down, so it’s adding up.”

Savings can be found if homeowners are willing to add their roof to the list of areas to shovel.

“You’re going to have to stay on top of it and really stay ahead of it,” said Hilborn.

There are a few items that could help control those ice dams so homeowners don’t have to call a professional.

“Heated Roof Coils,” which cost $40 to $50, go up on the roof and melt the ice.

Also, “Roof Melt Pellets,” which cost $23, are small salt pucks that can be thrown on the roof.

Both are much cheaper than the alternative.

WCCO-TV’s Rachel Slavik Reports

More from Rachel Slavik
  • mark from mntaxwaste.com

    Just to add one thing, check what is in the roof melt pellets. Read the label about the dangers of exposure to your skin, and pets. We stopped at Home Depot, and they recommended using a roof rake because of the damage the chemicals can to to your skin, plants, animals, and the roof. After reading the dangers, we went with a roof rake.

  • M

    Just make sure to lift the rake off the roof when going back up to pull it back down. Don’t want to raise any of the shingles.

  • Marks Praying

    The chemicals not the greatest to use but once you hit a certain point you may have no choice but dratsic means either.
    I’ve used ice melt in nylon socks up there for maybe 5 of last 20 years at times. Some rust on the gutters from corrosion … no damage to shingles so far thats visible. fingers crossed

  • Frank

    The Freezeblock System prevents water damage to homes resulting from ice dams.
    See our website at http://www.freezeblock.com

  • Rod Pennington

    The best way to use roof melt is in an icesock.com

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