Hey Doc Holm-  When should I start worrying about ice dams?  New York, Boston and their suburbs have been dumped with lots of snow.  We just keep getting a couple inches here and there.  I still have snow on my roof but there’s a warm up coming.  Should I do anything?  I don’t want the problems I had last year.

Ida Nough, Moscow, MI

Dear Ida,

You may not know this but there are many things you can do to prevent problems relating to snow and ice dams on your roof.  I hope you take my advice and act on the immediate precautions and work on the others when the thaw comes….Hey, is Moscow by Hudson?  I digress.

first; either get a snow rake (found at your local hardware store) or hire somebody to remove 6′-10′ of snow on your roof wherever there are gutters. (DO IT NOW)

second; look inside your gutters and if they are filled with ice, either sprinkle or insert a panty hose filled with calcium chloride to melt the ice and create water flow, so when the meltdown occurs the water will run through your gutters and not over them.  (DO IT NOW)

third; get an inspection and if needed an action plan.  The inspection should look at; your attic ventilation both intake and exhaust (exhaust only is good but works much, much better with intake air/ventilation AND your attic insulation (depth of it and whether its touching the inside of your roof decking at the edges and if it’s blocking the air intake).  (ACTION PLAN)

These steps can help you now and will help you in the future so now Ida Nough, you’re in the know.