BOSTON (CBS) – With a storm on the way Saturday in a seemingly never-ending winter, Bay State residents are being urged to clear snow off their roof.

Tom Silva from “This Old House” on PBS offered some tips for clearing your roof before the next storms roll in.

icedamroof Tips For Clearing Snow Off Your Roof

Ice dams form when snow melts and then refreezes, trapping standing water on roofs.

Silva said residents who own homes with sloped roofs should still be concerned, though flat roofs are more susceptible to collapse.

One big worry is if your roof has ice dams. Ice dams are formed when a heat leaks through insulation, melting snow in a particular spot. That melted snow then seeps down the pitched roof and re-freezes. Then, water starts to build up and over time, it can leak into the roof of your home.

Silva spoke with WBZ-TV’s Jonathan Elias about how to properly remove ice dams.

Silva said raking your roof could create an ice dam.

Silva offered tips to avoid creating ice dams, speaking with WBZ-TV’s Jonathan Elias.

Holly from Pepperell asks, “Is it okay to use some rock salt on the edge of the roof to deal with ice dams?”

Silva gave his answer and discussed the danger of icicles with WBZ-TV’s Jonathan Elias.

Comments (49)
  1. Kate Conran says:

    Thanks, Tommy! I was dreading the thought of going up on a laddar and chipping away, so now I tried launching some paper bags of snow melt up there. Hoping it will help – right now I’ve got WATER dripping INSIDE the window in my bedroom..

  2. Rosie says:

    Is it ok to break the icicles that are hanging down just about everywhere
    around my house?? They block the doors at times so that I can’t get out fo them.

  3. Faith Gagne says:

    How do I save this page to my computer? Thanks.

  4. Carol Sheehan says:

    Thanks Tom. For once I know more than my husband. Now to just go and find some panty hose….

  5. Linda Hardy says:

    What do I do when there are icicles that running down my siding? What do I have to do for those?

  6. Jeffrey says:

    If your House is well insulated and has NO Ice Dams and no Icicles would it be ok with just half the roof rake off, as I can’t get close enough because of Snow banks and Shrubs to rake the whole thing off… i’m out in western Mass

    1. Philip Sullivan says:

      What is the material that Tom Silva put into the bag to put on the roof to melt the snow and ice? Was it Calcium Chloride Pellets or Pucks?

  7. pdn says:

    We’re trying the calcium chloride right now. My husband is mixing it into snowballs and throwing them up on the roof!

  8. robin says:

    great/helpful news story – sent to several friends, even out of state! Thanks

  9. Peg Bonnevier says:

    Why did we see on a State Farm Insurance site NOT to use Calcium Chloride on the roof? Said it would corrode flashing under the shingles? HELP!

  10. Vickie says:

    How do I find someone reliable to clear the snow off my roof?

    1. kim says:

      I asked the guy who plows my driveway and he set me up with this other guy that came with ladders and got all the snow off my roof. Granted, he was not insured and “climbs at his own risk” but you can call your homeowners insurance carrier and put add a rider for the one or two days for a small fee.

  11. Charlie Russell says:

    Is Sodium chloride equal to Potassium chloride ?

  12. tom says:

    Where do you buy chloride pucks?

  13. Bea says:

    I put a cup of cloride chips in a paper towel, taped the ends closed and tossed them on the roof. They slid down behind the ice dams and started melting them right away. It works well and will not hurt your roof.

  14. Mike says:

    The information is great and very useful but where to get the supplies to relieve the ice dams.

    Thanks for the tips. keep them coming.


  15. Paul says:

    Of all the roofs known to have “collapsed” in the past few weeks, how many have been single family houses with slanted roofs, and how many have been buildings with flat roofs? Thank you.

    By the way … I do not think elderly folks should be clearing roofs on their own homes, and any homes with 2 floors are beyond the reach of roof rakes. I have heard costs of $500-$800 (and more) to get people to clear roofs, but I’m not sure it’s wise to subject roofs to untrained people because of the potential for damage. How many people can really afford to pay that much $$$ these days … and how many times each winter would they need to do it?

    It would be great if there was an IN-DEPTH report on this entire matter on the tube, including the extremely high costs and the likelihood that there are people taking advantage of the situation with their high prices.

  16. Bob from NB says:

    Now I am very confused. If I cannot clear the entire roof, am I better off NOT roof raking as far up as I can get, and do no raking at all? I also heard “no chemicals at all on roof, especially salt”. Tom say’s OK. I had a guy get all my ice dams off the roof. He used a hammer. Tom say’s no. Please, can someone clarify everything? I can’t get on the roof myself. Do I need to hire a crew each time it snows to remove it? Please offer advice, if you can. Thank you.

  17. arce - Pepperell ma says:

    Should we clean the snow on the decks or they’re more strong than roofs.

    1. Julie Eich says:

      Tom Silva did say yesterday (off-camera, but I was there) that you should absolutely be clearing your flat decks. They are just as susceptible.

  18. fred garside says:

    I don’t see any tips !!!!

  19. jay says:

    This is awful. where are the tips!!!!!!!!!!

  20. Cheryl says:

    He said to uise calcium chloride on the roofs to melt ice dams. Can be purchased at Home Depot. Put it in an old nylon and throw it up on the roof.

    1. gina says:

      can’t the calcium chloride hurt the nail and roof itself?

      1. Peg Bonnevier says:

        That is what we saw on State Farm Ins site. Said not to use calcium chloride for it can corrode the flashing under the shingles.

      2. hi Jimmy says:

        as opposed to water damaging the wood, causing rot, splitting, mold?

  21. Annmarie says:

    thank you for the tip
    i was going to buy Cakcium Chioride but if it going to hurt the the flashing then forget that.
    i would like to keep my roof in once peace
    thanks you
    have nice weekend

  22. Lili Clark says:

    And what are you suppose to do with you live in a triple decker..where the roofs are flat????????????

  23. Rick says:

    I would like to know where those PUCKS can be purchased. I looked for them at Lowe’s, Home Depot and Ace Hardware – no one has them and not heard of them. Where can I purchase them?

  24. Nate Christoph says:

    I don’t worry about falling off of my roof…it’s only a foot or two drop until I hit the snow :-)

  25. macmum says:

    My best tip is to call a professional. Getting on the roof is dangerous and something that should be done by a person that has the skill, training and confidence to be up there with the right tools and equipment to do it safely. It’s something our construction company does for our regular customers every year. It’s a whole lot less expensive to pay some one than it is to be badly injured trying to save a few bucks.

  26. Vivian says:

    Hi, I have been calling lots of people to help me to clear my roof off the snow, so far, everybody is charging me lots of money. At this moment I cannot afford to pay lot of money because I’m working partime only and the pay is not enough to cover and keep up with the most essential necesities to go on. Is there anybody outthere to help me and don’t charge to much. My concern is that my house is already leaking in the bathroom and one of the room. Would you please help me. If there is a helping hand would you please contact me at Thank you very much and have a great day.

  27. phyllis feld says:

    how to find an honest contractor to help with ice dams

  28. Gary W says:

    All this snow… where to put it.. and how much is going to keep coming? Came across this neat little site that grades local forecasters on their performance. Worth a look:

  29. Cynic says:

    We used to Jump off the roof into the Snow…. That was fun.

  30. PJ says:

    Quick and Easy: Ice dams can be melted by filling nylons, tights or cloth bags with ice melt that is safe for roof shingles and tossing it up there – easy, cheap, though not a desirable permanent decoration!
    Try to avoid salt and chloride on the roof, instead go for something like sodium acetate or calcium magnesium acetate or now hardware stores are selling roof pucks you can buy and toss up there.

  31. HomeFix Sam says:

    We have an article here about preventing/fixing ice dams and roof damage. It’s from the weekend of the AFC championships, so there are few football references in there, but it’s an informative article nonetheless!

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