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Mike Bryant
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Don't Let the Snow Get You Up on The Roof

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Cold temps, snow, and occational warmth can mean biggest accumulation of ice.The problem is being seen on roads and in the many slip and falls out there. But, for Minnesota homeowners there is another problem. They need to look up at the roof.

Ice Dams:

The lengthening, sunny days in the forecast and mild weather will combine to make melt water flow off rooftops to existing ice dams at the edges, possibly backing up under shingles. That could cause leaks through ceilings or down walls, ruining sheet rock and insulation. It means that residents who have been cross about potholes under their wheels in recent weeks may find they now have a wintry overhead-ache, as well.

The Minneapolis Tribune published a list of remedies this week:

• Call a professional ice-removing service. Expect to pay $250 per hour.

• Toss ice-melters onto the ice dams. These would include "pucks" of salt designed specifically for the job, or socks or stockings filled with an ice-melter such as magnesium chloride or urea, which are safer for plants, pets and roofing materials than standard sodium chloride. They should be placed perpendicular across the ice dam to cut channels for water to the roof's edge.

• Rake snow gently off the roof with a roof rake. Don't scrape down to the shingles.

with long term help being:

• Insulate the attic and all channels where warm air might escape from inside the house to the roof.

• Install heat "coils" or lines on the roof, which melt ice from eaves. (These might still allow ice to form in gaps, Kuhl said).

• Consider a metal "raised seam" roof, which can reduce leakage from ice dams,

But there were also some don't:

Climb onto an icy, snowy roof.

• Attack ice dams with hammers, axes or ice picks, which can damage shingles.

• Pull on large, stubborn icicles. That could pull an entire gutter off.

We see a number of roof injuries each year. They usually are severe and aren't often covered in libility policies. So follow the advice and hopefully it will warm up and nature will solve this concern quickly.