Combat ice dams to prevent severe damage to your home

Click Play for John Rawlin's report
January 28, 2014 2:40:05 PM PST
It's 14° with a brisk breeze; a brutal day to haul out a heavy ladder and climb up and take on a frozen gutter before it causes real trouble.

Technician Bryan Blomquist works for PJ Fitzpatrick. The firm estimates, thanks to repeated thawing and freezing, it's had 75 similar jobs in the last week.

Problems develop when indoor heat warms a snowy roof prompting melting. The water flows down the roof until it hits the still-frozen gutter and refreezes. The ice builds up, becoming an ice dam and water trapped behind it can back up under the shingles.

In a worst-case scenario that can be a big problem.

"Well it can go backwards and that is not a good thing. When it comes to roof shingles they are not designed to handle water going backwards," says Rick Stover, the president of PJ Fitzpatrick. "It backs up underneath them and works its way into your home."

To keep that from occurring, Blomquist uses a hammer and chisel and carefully cuts a series of drain channels thru the ice. It's delicate work; too much force and the gutter could be ruined.

Workers with PJ Fitzpatrick have seen incidents where water was coming into a home's kitchen cabinets because of an ice dam.

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