Dealing with Ice Dams

Ice Dam Removal

Ice Dams in your gutters are quite commonplace in Minneapolis.  While the icicles hanging from your gutters are a beautiful reminder of the winter season, they can cause significant damage.  Left untreated, ice dams can cause serious damage to your roof, paint, gutters, insulation, shingles, and drywall, even the structural integrity of your roof!  They can also cause mold, which can trigger allergies and respiratory issues in your family.

An ice dam forms as snow on your roof is melted by the sun, and then freezes again at the end of the roof.  Snow will begin melting when the outside of your roof, or the temperature outdoors has risen above 32 degrees Fahrenheit.   Oddly enough, snow will act as a great insulator, maintaining the temperature that your roof is absorbing from your attic.  This will cause snow to melt significantly more quickly, leading to larger ice damns.

As this continues, the ice will begin working it’s way back up the roof.  This can get under shingles, melt, and then leak into the exterior walls of your home.  Damage may not be easily detectible.  Insulation may become wet, causing it to not work to keep your home warm.  If humidity and the correct temperature exist, mold can begin growing in your attic.  Paint can blister months after the ice damn has completely melted, and in some cases, begin to bow your walls or ceilings.

How Things Go Wrong

  1. A large winter storm hits hard, and snow and ice are on your roof.
  2. Heat from your home and the sun cause the snow to melt.
  3. Melted snow runs down the slop of your roof.
  4. The melted snow will refreeze as ice near your gutters.
  5. As temperatures rise and fall, the dams and icicles will grow.
  6. Icicles become a safety concern.

One of the most effective steps that a homeowner can take to prevent ice damns is to reduce or eliminate heat sources in the attic, and ventilate the attic rooms.  This will prevent heat being insulated by snow, and allow for natural reduction of ice dams, often preventing them altogether.

There are other options to removing and preventing ice dams, as inventive roofers and other ice dam removal specialists have begun to develop products and chemicals designed to protect your home, many of which have proven extremely successful.  These products can include:

  • Heated gutters, designed to melt ice before it starts.
  • Heated cabling systems.
  • Ventilation processes.
  • Chemical sprays.

Each of the preceding solutions come with pros and cons, which should be thoroughly evaluated before deciding what works best for you and your family.

By taking precaution in the summer or fall months, you could prevent thousands of dollars in damages that can happen in the winter.  We all know the temperature fluctuation that we deal with in Minneapolis over the months of November-April.  A bad ice dam can cause your family thousands of dollars of damages.  Take the appropriate steps to shore up your home today.

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Chimney Repair Tips

Brick Fireplace

Brick and other chimneys are prevalent all over the world.  For centuries, they’ve provided a beautiful and functional way to vent smoke from a fireplace, out of your home.  They can come in all shapes, sizes, and materials; the most popular of which is brick.  Often times, weather, falling trees, or vandalism can damage a brick chimney.  The following tips can help you to repair your chimney with little effort.

Replacing Bricks

When your brick chimney has been damaged, the first thing you’ll want to do is to find a safe time to climb onto your roof.  You don’t want to risk being on a sloped roof when it’s rainy or icy.  When you’ve accessed your roof, you’re going to want to remove any loose debris.  This could include broken bricks, mortar, stones, or tree branches surrounding your chimney.  Most loose debris on your damaged chimney can be pulled away using your hands, but be careful not to harm the structural integrity of the chimney.

Next, you’ll want to break away any lodged brick and mortar using a hammer and a brick chisel.  The area that you’re planning to repair must be cleaned prior to making the repairs.  Once the damaged mortar, brick, and other debris have been removed, you’ll want to use a wire brush to sweep away as much dust as possible.

Next, you’ll want to wet the area you’re going to repair with a dripping sponge.  This will allow the mortar to effectively bond the old bricks with the new ones that you’ll be using.  Once you’ve replaced your brick, allow it to dry, and clean up!

Chimney Liner Repair

It is the opinion of most chimney professionals that repairing a cracked or broken chimney liner should be avoided, and a wholesale replacement is necessary.  There has been heated discussion in the industry on this issue for many years now.

If you plan on repairing your chimney liner, it is our opinion that you give a qualified chimney professional a call to complete the work.  They can provide you with their years of experience to determine if your lining can be repaired, or if you need a complete overhaul of your system.  There are many scams out there relating to chimney liners, so it’s best to remain vigilant, and choose a repair partner that you can trust.

If you feel that you need chimney repairs, and you’re not a do-it-yourself type, give our offices a call today.  One of our friendly customer service representatives would be glad to assist you and schedule a no-risk consultation with our expert chimney sweep team today.