Ice dams could wreak havoc with your home -- here's how to stop them

CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - It has been a bitter cold and snowy start to the winter, and now with a bit of a warm-up, homeowners should be checking for ice dams.

"Most people don't realize they have an ice dam until there is water dripping in their house," says Joe Palumbo of Ice Dam Guys, a company that specializes in eliminating ice dams from your roof.

Palumbo says you should, as often as possible, take a walk around your house and often times you can see the ice build-up along the roof line, or you may see huge icicles hanging from the roof line.

If that's the case, then it's a sign of a growing ice dam.

"The best way to remove it is steam, low pressure moderate steam," he says, "We climb up there we shovel off six to eight feet of the overhang, that exposes the entire ice dam and then we steam it off."

Safety is the critical idea. Palumbo does not recommend you try and take care of the problem yourself.

He has seen to many people hurt or roofs damaged by homeowners trying to do the job themselves by getting up on ladders and trying to chop the ice away.

"Unless you've won some kind of chain saw ice carving contest, it's difficult. You're going to mess up, you're going to hit your shingles, put a hole in them, you're going to scrape them or damage them," he says.

Water pouring in and down your walls can do extraordinary damage so your best bet is to try and avoid ice dams altogether by scheduling a home energy audit to check your insulation.

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