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by: Angie’s List Staff

After the storm hits, follow these tips to inspect your home and prevent further damage.

Long icicles hanging from your gutters are a warning sign of possible ice dams on your roof. An ice dam is a ridge of ice that forms at the edge of a roof and prevents melting snow from draining off the roof. This can cause serious roof damage.

Tips for dealing with ice dams:
1. Remove snow from the roof: There is a special tool for removing snow called a “roof rake”. Carefully pull it down the slope of the roof line. Never pull snow across the roof – you may damage the shingles.
2. Chip away at the ice: For immediate action you can chip away through the ice dam so the water can flow through. Stop when you get close to the roofing.
3. Call a professional: Removing an ice dam can be quite dangerous. A good place to start is with roofing contractors. Check the estimates and references of contractors in your area. Gutter cleaning companies may also offer this service.
4. Properly ventilate & insulate the attic: The main cause of ice dams is an overly warm attic.

What NOT to do:
1. Never walk on a snow-covered roof. Make sure you work from a ladder to access/fix the damage.
2. Do not install mechanical equipment or water heaters in attics.

3. Do not use salt or calcium chloride to melt snow off the roof. These chemicals are very corrosive. The runoff of these chemicals can also damage grass and plants.

Basement tips
Melting snow and ice can often cause flooding. Follow these tips to help keep water out of your basement:

* Remove snow from basement stairwells, window wells and all walls.
* Maintain sloped exterior grades away from your house.
* Make sure your downspouts are clear.
* Don’t pile snow up against the house.
* If you have a sump pump, clean and test it.

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