Ice dams: What to look for and how to prevent them - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Ice dams: What to look for and how to prevent them

MARATHON COUNTY (WAOW) - Homeowners are dealing with the effects of a long harsh winter.

One major problem is ice dams. Home repairmen say ice dams can cause unwanted water to leak into walls and ceilings.

They say they've seen a boost in business thanks to the common rooftop problem.

"This is the busiest we've ever been. On average, we're getting 3 to 5 calls a day," said Jay Cricks, the co-owner of Northstar Cleaning and Restoration.

As the name suggests, ice dams prevent gutters from draining properly.

"The warm air comes up through the attic into the home. It melts the snow and ice on the roof. It goes down the roof and refreezes on the eaves. As it refreezes, it backs up underneath the shingles," said Cricks.

It can become a major issue.

"The snow gathers on top of it. It's a lot of weight. Then it leaks through your roof and can actually collapse," said Tyler Offman, a manager at Ace Hardware.

Repair specialists say homeowners can look for clues before the problem gets too serious. These include having had ice dams in the past, water running down the face of a home and ice forming on the gutters.

"If not attended to right away, it could cause mold issues in the attic. It could cause the drywall and the paint to bubble and you'll have to get repairs," Cricks said.

There are ways to prevent ice dams altogether.

Cricks advises removing the snow from the eaves.

"Make sure you keep those areas clear so as it thaws and melts the water has somewhere to go," he said.

Offman says keeping up the maintenance throughout the winter will prevent headaches come springtime.

"If you keep taking it off every day it doesn't have time to mass into this big problem," he said.

Hardware store managers say two helpful tools to clear snow off the roof are snowmelt products and extra long roof rakes.
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