The snow has arrived and we thought it was time to refresh ourselves on snow and ice removal. Of course, life is busy—we are always a fan of hiring professionals when able too. Let us know if need a list of professionals in your area.
When we think of snow removal, the basic shoveling of sidewalks and driveway is top of mind, but there are a few other snow and ice factors to consider. We break it down for you.
Removing Ice from Around Your Home
Make sure to walk around your house to find those icy areas around your home, especially if it’s your first winter at the home.
Choose Chemical Products Carefully
Putting a layer of rock salt (sodium chloride) on icy areas is an effective way to melt the ice and keep your family and pets safe. However, rock salt can sometimes cause damage to concrete and metal surfaces and is also harmful to plants. Magnesium chloride is less corrosive that other chemical products and works well for melting ice. Before using any ice melting products read the labels carefully and here is more info on common products:
- Sodium chloride — While generally the least expensive deicing product, rock salt doesn’t work well in temperatures below 25 degrees and can leach into the soil, changing the chemical balance to toxic levels.
- Calcium chloride — Works well at temperatures below zero and is considered less harmful to vegetation. But it can leave behind a slippery residue that can be harmful to carpet, tile, shoes and your pet’s feet. This product can be up to three times more expensive than rock salt, but you don’t need to use as much.
- Calcium magnesium acetate — Can cost 10 times more than rock salt, but it’s salt-free and biodegradable. It won’t harm the environment and is less corrosive to concrete than salt.
- Urea — Primarily used as a fertilizer, urea has a lower potential to damage vegetation compared to potassium chloride, but it still has the potential to burn your lawn, shrubs and other plants. It can also contaminate runoff water with nitrates in the spring.
Removing Snow from Your Roof
If a lot of snow has accumulated on the roof of your home, you may need to remove it to avoid leaks too. Additionally, snow is heavy and can strain the structure of your house.
Work from the Ground if Possible
The safest way to remove snow from the roof of your property is to do so from ground level. Don’t stand directly below the area you are focusing on when removing snow from the roof of your home. You may be pulling the snow down on top of yourself, and even a small area has the potential to shake loose 100 pounds or more at once.
Don’t Work Alone
If you need to go up onto the roof to deal with the snow, don’t do so alone. Get someone else to act as a spotter, and use a harness or a rope for extra security. Wearing boots with good traction or adding boot chains to your footwear is required if you are going to be doing this type of work.
Don’t Pile the Snow
Don’t pile the snow up before moving it off the roof. The weight of accumulated snow sitting in one area can damage the affected area and can even lead to a collapse.
Those Darn Ice Dams
An Ice Dam is a hump of ice that forms at the edge of your home’s roof under certain wintertime conditions. An ice dam can damage both your roof and the inside of your home and puts gutters and downspouts at risk too.
Really, how do these ice dams form?
An ice dam forms when the roof over the attic gets warm enough to melt the underside of the layer of snow on the roof. The water trickles down between the layer of snow and the shingles until it reaches the eave of the roof, which stays cold because it extends beyond the side of the house. There, the water freezes, gradually growing into a mound of ice.
The flatter the pitch of the roof, the easier it is for an ice dam to get a grip. Gutters at the eaves can also trap snow and ice. If snow and ice build up high enough in the gutter, it can provide a foundation for an ice dam.
Dealing with Ice Dams
(remember you don’t have to do any of this yourself, call an expert to get personalized advice and steps)
1. Remove the ice dam by breaking it free in small chucks. Do NOT use an ax or other sharp tool! You’ll cut through the shingles. This is slow, dangerous work, so again hire someone experienced at roofing. Even if you do it safely, the chunks of ice can take pieces of shingle with them.
2. Clear out gutters and downspouts. Again, this is ladder work and an easy way to damage either plastic or metal gutters and spouts.
3. Melt troughs through the ice dam with calcium chloride ice melter. Do NOT use rock salt! It will damage paint, metals, and plants beneath the eave and wherever the salty water drains.
A good trough-maker is a tube of cloth (a leg from an old pair of panty hose works well). Fill it with calcium chloride, tie off the top, and lay it vertically across the ice dam. It will slowly melt its way down through the dam, clearing a path for the underlying water to flow free.
Think about installing ice dam machines to prevent or even remove them as they build-up. Many homes will have these now installed, remember to ask the sellers/homeowners how to use them or even your inspector, before winter arrives! Blog post to updated with ice dam solution teams, message your Real Estate Nation agent for more info.
Helpful tips also credited from:
home – partners.com