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Dam Problem: Heavy snow, ice on roofs causes trouble

Posted at 5:25 PM, Feb 08, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-08 19:31:04-05

AURORA, Ohio — The heavy snow and ice that accumulated on the roof of Network Technologies took a toll on the Aurora business.

Ironically, an Enviromux device, which detects water among other things and is made by the tech company, alerted the co-owner, Robin Heiser, to the trouble.

"I got a text that there was water in the building early Monday morning," Heiser said.

Heiser was surprised to learn that an ice dam had formed and led to a building intrusion. Water came through the ceiling and dripped into offices.

"The problem was very significant because the water was getting onto our computers and electronics and people's desks and it was all over the place," Heiser said.

Throughout the day on Tuesday, Mason McGinley, an ice dam remover from the Minnesota-based company Ice Dam Guys worked on the roof, knocking off snow and using steam to melt the solid ice.

"I'm making a tic-tac-toe pattern so I can break off chunks and a little tiny square— like a little grid— and that helps break it up. You don't want a big chunk of ice coming down," McGinley said.

Due to the tough winter so far, ice dam removers have been very busy in multiple states, including Ohio.

"This is what happens whenever Mother Nature calls and she'll call at any time of the day and there's no stopping her," McGinley added.

Damage from dams can be significant because the weight can pull off gutters and cause destruction to the roof's edge. Damming can also result in possible mold infestation.

McGinley said residents with a bunch of snow and ice on their rooftops should pay attention to possible warning signs inside the home.

"Water coming inside, you can see water coming through your headers, above your doors, and above your windows," he said. "It can be real nasty."

Eliminating the dams can be very expensive. For example, the cost from Ice Dam Guys is $575 per hour with a two-hour minimum.

"It's tough work. It's dangerous. I'm up on a roof," McGinley said.

To prevent ice dams, McGinley suggests investing in a roof rake with extenders to remove snow from roofs. He also said it's important to keep attics well insulated and ventilated.

"We want underneath the plywood to be about the same temperature above it and that will keep things from thawing and freezing and thawing and freezing and the vicious cycle."

Keeping gutters clean is something that can also stop ice damming, according to the experts.