Break Up Your Ice Dam

It’s on the news and customers are calling to ask, “What can we do about these ice dams?”  One of our Gutter Cover customers called to tell us she found a solution on the internet and that it did the trick.  So we decided to investigate.

This Old House and a contributor on Yahoo both posted the same solution as related to me by our customer as follows:

 Find nylon pantyhose or nylon knee highs.  If using pantyhose, cut off the panty part.

Fill the legs with calcium chloride and tie the tops into knots to close them.  Our Gutter Cover customer said they could not find calcium chloride only but purchased it with magnesium in it.

Lay the hose onto the roof so it crosses the ice dam and overhangs gutter.  You might place them about 2 feet apart.  You can use a long-handled rake or hoe to push them in position.

The calcium chloride will melt through the snow and ice creating a channel for water to flow off the roof and into the gutters.

Note:  The calcium chloride will not harm the shingles or gutters.  Do Not Use Rock Salt as it is Corrosive and will cause damage.

Sometimes a homeowner mistakenly thinks that ice dams are caused by having a gutter guard installed over their gutters.  If you look at the pictures below you will see that is not true.  Both houses have the same exposure to the elements yet the one with Advantage Gutter Guard® has a few icicles but the one with open gutters has larger icicles and the possibility of an ice dam forming.


You may click here and read our blog regarding ice dams and how to prevent them.  Please check out our future posts regarding heat cables and proper attic ventilation.