By Chief Meteorologist Eric FisherBy Eric Fisher

BOSTON (CBS) — The snows of February are causing more than headaches on the road. A lot of people in our area are struggling with ice dams and the damage that comes with them.

Some people are looking up inside their homes and seeing water running down the walls. It’s the combination of heavy snow and sustained cold that does it, but there’s something you can do to cut your chances of having a problem.

Icicles may look lovely, but they’re a sign of trouble. And so are gutters clogged with a solid block of ice. It’s ice dam season. The culprit is heat escaping from the house, melting the snow on the roof.

“That melted snow then travels to the edge of the roof and starts to freeze and eventually that freeze turns into a mound and that mound turns into a dam,” says Rich Melo of Newton Roofing.

His crew is fixing the problem at one Weston home by shoveling and raking snow off the roof. Then they take a hammer and break the blockage every few feet so water can drain. If they don’t, the melting snow can back up under the shingles.

“And then it will travel into the home. It’ll travel through the walls and can do damage as it heads down into the building,” says Melo.

That’s what happened to Margaret Manion’s house.

“I noticed my rug was wet and I looked up and saw the water spots on the woodwork,” she says. She’s got some damage, but nothing major. “Oh well, this is just the joys of home ownership,” she says.

What can you do?

“If you’re pro-active and you remove the bottom 3 to 4 feet of snow, the ice dam will be prevented from forming,” says Melo. But you’ve got to do that before the ice builds up. Some people also find that putting ice melter on the gutters can help, but if the ice is really thick you’ll have a tough time. And if you decide to try and handle the problem yourself, be very careful. It’s a bad idea to climb on ladders in the snow.

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Eric Fisher


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