Ice dams are no homeowner’s friend. These accumulations of ice at the lower edge of a sloped roof or gutter can pose a danger to your home and anyone walking around it.
From roof rakes to hiring a contractor, there are lots of ways to clear out ice dams. One of the more popular ways is to toss a throwable ice melting puck onto the roof. These products are specifically designed to be thrown up on roofs to melt ice in hard-to-reach places.
People have been making their own ice melt socks out of nylon socks and calcium chloride for a long time. More recently, companies began selling ice melting pucks. They contain the same solution as ice melt socks, but are packaged as small, circular discs.
A good idea?
There are mixed reviews about ice melting pucks on sites like Amazon and among home improvement experts.
One issue is that their lightweight nature makes it easier for them to get blown off a roof. Another complaint users have is that they melt around themselves instead of creating a wide path for water to escape as an ice melt sock does. To remedy this, a homeowner typically has to toss a bunch of pucks onto a roof.
The downsides don’t end there. Some homeowners even fault ice melting pucks for discoloring their roofs, ruining landscaping and harming the environment. It’s safe to say that because ice melt socks could do just the same since they also contain the same salt compound.
Alternatives worth considering
Only you can decide if ice melt socks and ice melting pucks are a good way to deal with ice dams. If you’d rather not use them, some alternatives worth considering include:
• A roof rake.
• Ice melting heat cables.
• Extra insulation in your attic to help prevent heat from escaping through the roof and causing ice dams in the first place.
• Ice metal panels that can better shed ice and snow from roofs. (This will likely require professional installation.)
You can also hire a contractor to break ice dams and/or to suggest home improvement projects to help prevent ice dams from forming in the first place. Whatever you choose, it’s never a good idea to ignore ice dams since they can seriously damage to your home and anyone around it.