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Learning Center – Learn about Ice Dams

Want to learn more about that ice dam on your roof? Great! That shows how much you care about your home.

You’ve come to the right place. We’re the ice dam company that shares what we know, and our ice dam pros have seen everything. If you can wonder it, we’ve probably written about it. Click on a link to jump down to a section, where you can find resources on the specific topic you’re interested in.

Basics | Identifying ice dams | Removing ice dams | Working with a company | Prevention |Other


Ice Dam Basics

Glossary & Definitions – We like to avoid jargon, but there are some ice-dam-related terms worth knowing. Just skimming our ice dam glossary may answer some of your questions on the spot.

What is an Ice Dam? – A quick explanation and diagram of how ice dams form on roofs.

Why Are Ice Dams Bad? – The big reason (leaking) may be obvious, but other risks should concern you.

How to Remove Ice Dams – A quick overview of the basic process of removing ice dams on roofs.

Safe Ice Dam Removal: 15 Principles to Ensure Your Ice Dam Is Removed Safely – How to make sure your ice dam removal company doesn’t make your problem worse or get you on the evening news.

How Do Ice Dams Cause Leaks in Your Roof? – Roof leaks are a sign your ice dam problem has become serious.

What Parts of Your House Can Be Water-Damaged by Roof Leaks? – A partial list of components in your home that water can damage or destroy.

Ice Dams Can Cause Fire: The Most Dangerous Reason Not to Put off Ice Dam Removal – Ice dams often cause water leaks.  Water and electricity don’t mix.

What Causes Ice Dams? Only 4 Ways an Ice Dam Can Form – Factors both man-made and natural cause ice dams to form.

Ice Dam Removal Costs & Your Insurance – You’re probably wondering, “Will my insurance cover ice dam removal?”

Ice Dam Damage Insurance Claims Usually Don’t End Well – Why you shouldn’t play chicken with your insurance company.

Parts of a Roof – A diagram of the parts of a roof.

Ice Dam Photos – In case you want to know what ice dams (other than yours!) look like on your roof. Ice dam photo galleries here and here.

Ice Dams by the Numbers: Facts & Figures – Some quick numbers on ice dams, ice dam removal and prevention, and ice dam removal companies.

Ice Dam Tools & Products – The good, the bad, and the ugly ice dam solutions. Know which are safe and which are dangerous.

10 Bad Ice Dam Removal Methods – Steam is the best.  Here’s a list of the rest.

Ice Dam Steamers for Ice Dam Removal: 6 Facts on Effective Use – Some myths dispelled.

How Prepared Are You for Ice Dam Season? – Take this 20-question quiz to find out.

Why Understanding Attic Bypasses is the Key to Preventing Ice Dams – Areas of your home with little or no insulation allow hot air to build up in your attic, often leading to ice dams.

The Pitfalls of DIY Ice Dam Removal – Don’t risk life and limb for an ice dam.

Is It OK to Knock Icicles off Your Roof? Depends on Your Definition of OK – Don’t risk life and limb for an icicle.

How Much Does Roof Snow Weigh? – How to determine (roughly) how heavy a load of snow is on your roof, and how much your roof can take.

All You Need to Know about Ice-Filled Gutters – All about frozen gutters, with photos.

Ice Dam Myth: “Gutters Cause Ice Dams” – They don’t.

Frozen Gutter Deicing FAQs – Everything you might have wondered about your gutters and their relationship to ice dams.

Can Ice Dams Cause Mold? – Yes, because of the moisture that may leak into your home.

Can Ice Dams Collapse My Roof? – Beyond causing leaks, how dangerous are ice dams?

Can Ice Dams Cause Permanent Damage? – Yes, once “repairs” no longer are enough.

Identifying Ice Dams

How to Identify an Ice Dam – Not sure if you have an ice dam? Look for these 5 telltale signs.

Is Your Ice Dam an Emergency? Here’s How You Know – So you have an ice dam on your roof. Is it an emergency yet?

Can You Always Spot an Ice Dam? Identifying Small Ice Dams, Ghost Ice Dams, & More – Ice dams can be small or hidden (or both).  Test out your skills at spotting ice dams.

What Your Roof Icicles Are Trying to Tell You – Look at your icicles to determine how serious your ice dam situation is.

Got Brown Icicles? You’ve Got a Problem! – Find out why brown, ugly icicles mean you’d better call an ice dam removal company ASAP.

Don’t See Icicles? You May Still Have an Ice Dam – Icicles are a reliable warning sign that you’ve got an ice dam, but here’s how to avoid a false negative.

When Winter Roof Leaks Aren’t Caused by Ice Dams – Believe it or not, ice dams are not always the culprit when the water starts pouring in.

Wintertime House Leaks? It’s Not Your Gutters. It’s an Ice Dam – People ask about the gutters because the gutters look like a problem. But the danger comes from the problem they can’t see.

Removing Ice Dams

Save Money on Ice Dam Removal with This Simple Trick – Try to get an afternoon appointment. Here’s why that can save you money and frustration.

One Expensive Way to “Save Money” On Ice Dam Removal – You want us to “Just remove the ice on the overhangs?” You’ll want to reconsider.

When Are Ice Dams at Their Most Dangerous? – 5 warning signs that your ice dam problem is about to get hairy.

Dry Steam vs. Wet Steam: Which is Better for Ice Dam Removal? – There’s a misinformed debate over which type of steam is better for removing ice dams: dry steam or wet steam? Which one is safer, which one is faster, and is the other one bad?

Ice Dam Removal: Much More than Steaming – Whether the job is done safely and cost-effectively also depends on the pre-steaming and post-steaming work.

How Gutter Guards Make Ice Dams Tougher to Remove – For one thing, they make it hard for our ice dam steamers to reach the ice.

Do Ice Dams in the Winter Mean a Roofer in the Spring? – Not necessarily. The roofer almost certainly did not cause your ice dam problem, and can only do so much to prevent future problems.

How Do I Turn My Water on In the Winter? (FAQ) – How to provide us the water we need to run our ice dam steamers.

What Landlords Must Know about Ice Dam Removal – How to avoid damaged property, lawsuits, and other disasters ice dams may cause.

How Landlords Can Save Money on Ice Dam Removal – Practical ways you can get your renters to bird-dog for you.

Renting an Apartment? Here’s What You Need to Know about Ice Dam Removal – The landlord ultimately needs to deal with the ice dam, but the renter deals with the consequences in the meantime.

Can You Take Shortcuts on Ice Dam Removal?Sometimes. It depends.

How Does Ice Dam Removal Differ between States? – We’ve removed ice dams in more states than any other ice dam company (that we know of). A few things we’ve learned about how to do the job correctly anywhere.

Irrigation Systems and Ice Dam Removal: Warning! – We’ll need access to water to run our ice dam steamers, but make sure water isn’t also flowing through your irrigation system.

Commercial Ice Dam Removal and Residential Ice Dam Removal: What’s the Difference? – Different roofs, and different numbers of people coming and going.

What You Need to Know About Ice Dam Removal on Slate Roofs – Read this if you don’t want to hear your roof go “snap,” “crackle,” and “pop.”

Can You Remove Ice Dams from a Glass Roof? – The answer is “yes,” but it’s a nerve-racking process better left to the pros.

Solar Panels & Ice Dams – The good news is solar panels don’t cause or invite ice dams. The bad news is it can be tricky to steam ice dams off your solar panels.

Copper Gutters Make Ice Dam Removal Take Longer – Copper gutters are easy on the eyes, but we don’t like to see them.  How we remove ice dams safely and protect your copper gutters.

When “This Old House” Gives out Bad Ice Dam Advice – Salt-filled pantyhose? Here’s why that’s a bad way to deal with ice dams on your roof.

This is Your Roof. This is Your Roof on Salt – In rare cases, salt may help you mitigate the dangers of ice dams. But you should avoid using it, for a variety of reasons.

A BIG Reason Not to Throw That Little Salt Puck on Your Roof – What’s worse than water leaking into your home?  Corrosive, chemical-laced water.

Working with an Ice Dam Removal Company

Don’t Wait for an Emergency to Call an Ice Dam Removal Company – By the time it becomes an “emergency,” your neighbors will have emergencies, too. At that point, you’ll have a much harder time reaching an ice dam removal company that can help you and not rip you off.

Need Ice Dam Removal? Do Your Homework Before You Hire – Proper due-diligence can save you many thousands of dollars and hours of heartache.

How to Identify Ice Dam Removal Scam Artists – 3 crazy claims that you might hear from a dishonest ice dam removal company.

How to Pick the Right Ice Dam Company – How to determine whether an ice dam removal company is experienced, skilled, ethical, and properly insured.

Why Does Ice Dam Removal Cost So Darn Much? – The short answer is: because it costs us so much.  12 major factors influence how much safe, dependable ice dam removal costs.

Off-the-Shelf Ice Dam Steamers vs. Custom-Equipped Ice Dam Steamers – A detailed technical comparison of our Steamzilla™ ice dam steamers to what other companies consider good enough.

Is IDSAFE (Ice Dam Steaming Association for Education) a Scam? What Consumers Must Know about Its “Certification” of Ice Dam Removal Companies – This self-serving “organization” gives homeowners a false sense of security.  Why you should disregard its “certification” and be skeptical of a company that claims to be “certified.”

Are You Sure That Ice Dam Company is Insured? Really, Really Sure? – Saying, “Yeah, we’re insured” over the phone means nothing, and does not mean you’ll be protected if there’s a disaster. Here’s what you want to ask the ice dam company instead.

Average Cost of Ice Dam Removal – Varies pretty widely, depending on a variety of factors.

Is Your Ice Dam Vertical or Horizontal? Big Factor in Ice Dam Removal Costs – Why the size of your house isn’t a good indicator of how long ice dam removal will take, or of how much it will cost.

Ice Dam Removal Prices Aren’t All That Matters – Ending up disappointed at half-price is not a bargain.

How to Hire a Cheap Ice Dam Removal Company and Have It End Well – There’s a way. You may not like it, but we’ll let you be the judge.

Same-Day Ice Dam Removal Service: How It Works & When You Need It – Why we offer same-day service, and why it might be exactly what you need if you’re in an ice dam emergency.

Should Your Ice Dam Removal Company Be Specialists? – It’s fine if they have a different line of work during the warmer months, but here’s why you need to make sure their ice dam removal business is a business.

Bandwagon Ice Dam Removal Companies: Why and How to Avoid Them – Out-of-work roofers and gutter guys want “easy” money. You want the job done right – and done once.

How Hard It Is to Find a Good Ice Dam Removal Company in an Emergency? – The good ones tend to get booked fast.

The Perils of Tire-Kicking: How People Who Call Too Many Ice Dam Removal Companies Get Confused – It’s smart to shop around a little, but not to the point that you can’t keep track of which ice dam company told you what.

Storm Chaser Ice Dam Removal Companies – Many are storm chasers, but we’re not.  Here’s why.

Relationship Tip: Tell Your Significant Other BEFORE You Schedule Ice Dam Removal – Ice dams are stressful enough on a household without your turning into The Honeymooners.

Why You Should Try to Be Home for Ice Dam Removal – Why it’s ideal for you to be home when your ice dam removal company shows up.

Why You Need Your Eyes and Ears During Ice Dam Removal – Keep your wits about you!

Partial Ice and Snow Removal Won’t Save You a Dime – “Good enough” probably isn’t good enough.

Here’s the Difference Experience Makes – Ice dams are more complicated than they seem. Make sure your ice dam company has the experience to be able to figure out puzzles like this one.

Having Trouble Reaching an Ice Dam Removal Company? Something to Try – Know the “peak hours” so that you can call at off-hours – and have a much easier time getting an appointment.

7 Questions to Ask before Hiring an Ice Dam Removal Company – Your pocketbook and the safety of your home depend on whom you let on your roof.

No Such Thing as an Ice Dam Removal “License” – There should be one, but there isn’t. An ice dam company that claims to be “licensed” is lying. Here are ways to separate the good companies from the bad.

5 Free Ways to Save Money on Ice Dam Removal – 5 simple ways to help your ice dam removal company set up their steamers, get on your roof, and get rid of your ice dam as quickly and cost-effectively as possible.

What Is an Ice Dam Removal Company Good for, Besides Ice Dams? – We can use our ice dam steamers to remove other pesky ice formations.

A Word about Cancelling Your Ice Dam Removal Appointment – You might not be able to get another appointment when you need it – at least with a reputable ice dam removal company.

Should You Have an Ice Dam Emergency Fund? – The alternative is to try to set aside even more money for a much bigger “home repairs” fund.

5 Reasons I Turn Away Some Ice Dam Customers – Most ice dam removal companies are desperate for business and never turn down a job – even if they’re ill-suited to it. We take a different approach.

Hey, Ice Dam Guys®, Stop Cleaning Up after Yourselves! – Cleaning up chunks of ice in your yard is hard work, and we need to bill for it accordingly, but the alternative is to let it sit there until the thaw.

How Come You Were Able to Clear Our Ice Dam So Much Faster Last Year? – Some years it’s easier to remove ice dams, and some years it’s harder. A few reasons for that.

Angry About Seeing Ice Chunks in Your Yard? Don’t Be – It would have taken much more time and money to melt those chunks of ice on your roof.

Hey! You Guys Damaged My Stuff! – We move everything we can out of the path of falling ice chunks, and warn you about anything we think might get damaged, but it’s your responsibility to tell us what might be hidden under the blanked of snow.

Yes, Your Water and Sewage Bills Will Go Up After Ice Dam Removal – We hope that’s obvious, but in case not, we’d like to explain why.

Preventing Ice Dams

Preventing Ice Dams from Forming – The top-3 most important ice dam prevention solutions.

How to Winter-Proof Your Roof – More detail on how to make your home ice-dam-resistant.

When Should I Remove Snow from My Roof? – How much snow puts you at risk of a roof collapse or – far more likely – an ice dam?

Roof Snow Removal 101 – New to the practice of keeping a snow-free roof? Although it’s not too hard, there’s more to it than you might think.

Where Should You Put Your Roof Snow? Not in These Spots – 3 places you should not drop shovels full of roof snow.

Why Do Ice Dams Form in Roof Valleys? – Ice dams tend to form on overhangs and in the valleys of your roof. An explanation for why they often form in valleys.

How Bad Attic Ventilation Can Cause Ice Dams and Good Attic Ventilation Can Prevent Ice Dams – As long as your roof is even a degree warmer than the outside air, snow can melt and refreeze into ice dams.

Why You Can’t Completely Prevent Ice Dams From Forming – As long as there’s snow on your roof, an ice dam can form.

Ice Dam Prevention During Winter Vacations – What you can do to prevent an ice dam disaster while you’re away.

Ice and Water Shield: Great Way to Minimize Roof Leaks from Ice Dams – Make sure your roofer has installed generous amounts of this protective membrane under your shingles.

Is Your Attic Causing an Ice Dam? The Sure-Fire Way to Tell – Hint: all you need is a cheap thermometer.

Stop or Minimize Roof Leaks with a New Roof – Installing a new roof? That’s a perfect time to install ice and water shielding to the max.

How to Choose an Insulation Contractor Who Can Help Prevent Ice Dams – It’s not as easy as it is to find and choose other contractors.

Will I Ever Be Rid of Ice Dams for Good? – Not unless you can keep your roof completely snow-free all winter long. But there are ways you can minimize the risk of ice dams.

How to Prepare for Ice Dams in the Offseason – A month-by-month checklist to help you prevent ice dams, while you still can.

How the Weather Can Undermine Your Ice Dam Prevention – Most of your success at ice dam prevention depends on your efforts, but some of it depends on Mother Nature.

What Can I Do About Ice Dams if I Want to Finish My Attic? – You’ll need some fancy footwork on your insulation, and to be extra-vigilant about raking your roof.

Is There Such a Thing as an Ice Dam Proof Roof? – No, but here’s the next-best thing.

Ice Dam Prevention Tip: Check Your Exhaust Fans – This hidden problem could be making your home more ice dam prone.

How to Prevent Ice Dams if You Have Cathedral Ceilings – It’s a challenge, but it can be done.

Heating Your Garage for Ice Dam Prevention: Doesn’t Work – Most garages aren’t insulated. Your garage roof will get hot, increasing the likelihood of ice dams forming, or making any existing ice dam problem even worse.

Rake Your Roof to Avoid Replacing Your Gutters – Ice dams can bend or pop off your gutter fasteners.

How Attic Air Ducts May Cause Ice Dams – Spoiler alert: they can make your attic even hotter, making it even more likely an ice dam will form on your roof.

Installing a Skylight? Don’t Let it Become an Ice Dam Disaster Zone – How to install a skylight and not have it become Roof Leak Central if an ice dam ever forms near it.

Ice Dam and Skylights: 3 Things You Should Know – How to make sure your skylight and ice dam removal job play nicely together.

How Much Insulation Is Needed to Prevent Ice Dams? – You may need more insulation than building codes call for.

Must You Rake the Whole Roof When it Snows? – Yes, if you want there to be no chance of ice dams on your roof.

Attic Condensation: a Silent Cause of Winter Roof Leaks – The same steps that can help you prevent ice dams can help you prevent equally-dangerous attic condensation.


Ice Dams in the Southern US – Yes, they do pop up occasionally. Here’s what to know if you live south of the Mason-Dixon line and have an ice dam on your roof.

Ice Dam Laws? Why Bath, Maine Created One – Unnecessary or ahead of the curve?  That’s less clear than what happens if someone is injured by snow and ice falling off your roof.

Cedar Shake Roofing and Ice Dams – Cedar shakes make ice dam removal much harder, and tend to invite leaks in for dinner.

20 Years of Ice Dam Experience – We’ve been removing ice dams longer than pretty much everyone. Some backstory on our company.

Want to know even more about ice dams? Check out the Ice Dam Guys® blog, as well as our sister site, IceDamRemoval.com.

Don’t want to learn and just need an ice dam company you can trust? Contact Ice Dam Guys®.

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