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Ice dams pose major threat to homes and businesses after heavy snowfall

Fortunately, there's a simple trick for preventing ice dams before they form.

BOISE, Idaho — After last weekend's major snowstorm, many Treasure Valley homeowners are urged to watch out for so-called ice dams that could result in extensive damage to the inside of homes.

Ice dams are formed by the buildup of ice along the overhang of your roof – the only place on your roof without heated living space underneath.

Ice slowly accumulates on the overhang until an ice wall forms after heavy snowfall. Once the wall forms, ice buildup gets exponentially worse, and water begins pooling behind it.

Roof shingles are only made for water runoff, not water accumulation, so that water will go under the shingles, and into your house, if not taken care of. And that could result in leaks and flooding inside your home.

The simplest preventative measure is to use a rake to pull the snow off of your roof. You don't need to clear the entire roof - just three to five feet up from the gutters. Because once you see a leak in your house, there's more damage than meets the eye.

"Your house is full of insulation, and it is literally a sponge,” said Joe Palumbo, president of Ice Dam Guys, a company that specializes in preventing and removing ice dams. “By the time that sponge – your insulation – is saturated, and now it's dripping into your house - you've got a much bigger problem than you think you have. 

'So now you'll have to tear out all your sheetrock, tear out all your insulation, and it can be entire summer's worth of inconvenience," Palumbo added.

If you already have an ice dam, break up the ice yourself, or call someone to fix it.

If you want to learn more about ice dams, visit the Ice Dam Guys Learning Center.

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