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Dec 29, 2015 4:41 PM

NH1 First Alert Weather: With winter hitting NH, it's time to prepare for snow, ice on roofs

CONCORD - Winter is finally here, along with our first taste of snow.

It’s time to prepare your house for snow and ice.

Last winter, we had so much snow accumulation on rooftops that homeowners had significant problems with dangerous and costly ice dams.

No one knows that better than June Duggan, of Rye, who has been trying to hire an expert to repair the ice dams on her roof.

“The issue is they were so buy from last year’s snow storms and roof leaks and collapses, that they just couldn’t help me out,” said Duggan.

Roof dams normally occur on the gutters at the edges of your roof. Snow piles up and melts, then finds its way into the gutters where it freezes and blocks drainage. The warm air inside melts the ice, which then seeps into the walls of your house. Repairs are very expensive and sometimes ice dams will cause a roof to collapse.

To prevent ice dams from forming in the first place, Bill Covert of Seacoast Roofing recommends installing heat tape. The tape is threaded up and down along the eaves. This keeps the roof heated.

“I would recommend putting them on a timer. I have them at my house and I set them to go off 4 times in the night,” said Covert.

Covert says ice damaged roofs can be repaired, but oftentimes the entire roof must be replaced.

He offers a tip for inexpensively melting ice that has already formed on your rooftop: Create a baseball sized ball by filling pantyhose with ice melt. He warns not to use rock salt. Put a long string on the end of the ball and toss it up onto the rooftop. It should be targeted to hit near gutters where ice has accumulated. The chemical in ice melt will stimulate the melting process.

“Every few feet I would put a pantyhose stuffed ball with calcium chloride,” said Covert.

The balls can be left on the roof until springtime, when, by pulling the strings down, they can be retrieved.

Problems caused by ice dams include: ripped gutters, damaged shingles, leaky roofs, sagging ceilings, warped floors, damaged insulation, and peeling paint. Insurance will not cover ice dam prevention.

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