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Stamford Roofing: Article About Ice Melt Systems For Roofs

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Ice dams occur when snow sitting on the roof melts due to the heat rising from the attic space. The melted snow then slides down the roof to the eaves where it then refreezes into a wall of ice. As this process continues, the wall of ice sitting on the eaves grows. Eventually, the melted snow will be pushed underneath the shingles, causing roof leaks. There are some ice melting systems available on the market that can be used to prevent the formation of ice dams. Because there are advantages and disadvantages to the different systems, it is best to ask a Stamford roofing contractor about what system may work best for the roof.

Heat cables are installed along the eaves of a roof in a zigzag pattern. There are many different types of cables available; some have to be turned on by the homeowner while others are self regulating, for example. When used correctly, these cables can help reduce problems caused by ice dams. However, the downside to these cables is that they can only mitigate the problem and not actually stop the ice dams from forming.

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The heat from the cables will provide small channels that will allow backed up water to escape, but this method should be a last resort.

Another major downside to heat cables is that they must be installed before the winter weather arrives; if the ice dam forms first, heat cables are not going to be helpful. Another way that homeowners can avoid the formation of ice dams is to use a roofing rake to manually remove the snow from the roof before it melts. If not done carefully, raking the roof can cause damage to the shingles or be very dangerous if enough snow has piled up.

Finally, some homeowners use a melt sock. Melt socks are made from a thin sock that has been filled with ice melt, also known as calcium chloride. While these can create a channel for extra water to go through, they can be risky because they add weight to the roof. Once again, they also do not actually stop ice dams from forming.

The best way to deal with ice dams is to keep them from forming altogether. This usually means having a professional roofer ensure that the attic has been air sealed, that there is enough insulation and enough ventilation. If the roof can be fixed, not only may the roof last longer, but it may also prevent roof damage from occurring.

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