Is Melting Ice Dangerous?
Some people love winter and the magic of falling snow. Others want nothing more than to torch the white stuff and get back to warmer temperatures. No matter which category you fall in, you have to deal with ice and snow each winter if you live in a cold climate. Melting ice can pose some interesting hazards. Here are some of the dangers of melting ice and the solutions to help you avoid them.
When it snows, your roof is your home’s first line of defense. Even when a roof withstands the weight of a heavy snowfall, it’s still not infallible. Warm daytime temperatures and heat rising into your attic from below melts the snow on your roof. As water runs down to the eaves, it cools again and refreezes.
This creates a wall of ice, allowing water to build up behind it and sit on the roof for a prolonged period. This can result in water seeping underneath the shingles and entering your home. There it damages attic insulation, rots wood beams, and stains the walls and ceiling. If you see water stains inside your home or long icicles hanging from your roof, these are signs you have an ice dam.
You should remove snow from your roof as soon as possible after a heavy snowfall. You can use a roof rake while standing safely on the ground to remove much of the snow. You shouldn’t chip and chisel away at ice that has already formed as this could damage your shingles. If you don’t feel comfortable removing snow from your roof, hire a snow and ice management company for help.
As you shovel snow from your sidewalks and driveway, it’s common to toss snow aside without much thought. However, if you throw snow up against the house, this could set you up for a flooded basement when warm temperatures arrive and melt the snow.
Even if you have a sump pump, it may not be able to handle the incoming water if the ejector hose is frozen. In fact, attempting to operate your sump pump under these conditions could cause it to burn out.
Make an effort to throw snow into your yard so it can melt and drain away from your home. Also, take the time to clear snow out away from basement windows and out of window wells.
Slippery Sidewalk and Driveway
Snow and ice are of biggest concern immediately following a snowstorm. If your gutters are clogged and melting snow can’t drain properly, water may overflow the gutters and freeze on the sidewalk or driveway. This could leave you with slippery walkways for days or even after a storm, depending on how long it takes for the snow to melt off your roof.
The first solution is to make sure your gutters are clear so water can drain properly from your roof. The second is to use deicers to speed up the ice melting process.
The problem with deicers is that many of them can be harmful to dogs. Some are caustic enough to irritate the pads of your pup’s feet. Your dog ends up licking his paws to relieve the irritation, ingesting the deicer in the process and developing stomach problems as a result. If you have a pet, avoid calcium-based salts, potassium chloride and sodium chloride, and instead opt for a safer, urea-based deicing product.