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Homeowners Beware: Ice Dams Could Cost You

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Ice dams form at the edge of roofs when the snow melts and refreezes. (credit: CBS)

Ice dams form at the edge of roofs when the snow melts and refreezes. (credit: CBS)

(credit: CBS) Rachel Slavik
Rachel Slavik joined the WCCO team in October of 2010 and is thrill...
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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

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