Quick Ice Dam Cure
The snow in Minnesota has been historic in 2010-2011 and there is a good chance more snow is to come before spring is sprung. If you have ice dams this article from “This Old House” and Roy Barnhart might be useful.
If you live in a cold, snowy region, you already know about the damaging effects of ice dams. The gutters clog up with ice, then water runoff from the roof gets trapped by the dam and eventually backs up the roof, travels under the shingles, and leaks into the house.
While a permanent fix for ice dams usually requires increasing the insulation, sealing, and ventilation in the attic, there is a simple way to diminish the damage after the dam has formed.
Fill the leg of discarded pair of panty hose with a calcium chloride ice melter. Lay the hose onto the roof so it crosses the ice dam and overhangs the gutter. If necessary, use a long-handled garden rake or hoe to push it into position.
The calcium chloride will eventually melt through the snow and ice and create a channel for water to flow down into the gutters or off the roof.
Illustration by Narda Lebo