If you live in an area that snows heavily in winter, you probably have seen those socks filled with ice melts on your neighbours' roofs. You may also wonder, do they really work? If they do, are they effective? Well, let's take a look what they are used for first.
What is an ice dam?
An ice dam usually forms from the edge of your roof and slowly builds up to a solid ridge of ice along the roof edges. As the ice becomes thicker and thicker, it become more and more difficult for the melted snow water to run off the roof.
In most of cases, snow starts melting in the warmer areas. The thawing snow runs down the roof and refreezes as it get to the edge of the roof, which is colder.
With water accumulating and refreezes along the edge, more and more ice builds up, which creates ice dams. As water keeps running down, the surface becomes flat. Eventually, the water will have nowhere to go be to overflow to the shingles and leak into your roof, which causes damages that are expensive to repair.
With that mechanism, if you have steeper roof, although the ice dam may still form, it will take a relatively longer time to form a flat surface which may completely stop water from running off your roof and cause damage. On the other hand, if your roof is flat, there is a higher chance that a ice dam could reach a damaging level.
How to make and use ice melt socks? Why can ice melt socks help prevent ice dam?
It is very simple to make Ice Melt Socks. In fact, for most houses, you do not need to hire professionals to do it. Here are what you need to make and use them.
- A few stockings, preferably nylon as the ice melt will easily leak through.
- Some calcium chloride ice melt.
- A stable ladder to reach your roof safely.
Here is how to make ice melt socks:
- Cut the stocking's leg part so that the remaining part is about 3 feet.
- Fill up the stocking with ice melt
- Tie the ends. Done!
To use them, here are the simple steps:
- Go up to the roof, and lay the ice melt socks vertically relative to the edge or your roof.
- Make sure you place one end onto the gutter and the other end up the roof slopes
- You can put one every 3 to 4 feet.
By doing so, you will create channels for water to run off our roof. The water that runs along the socks will not refreeze, which means you will not have residual water on your roof to build up an ice dam. To prevent ice building up in the gutter, you can place an ice melting sock in the gutter close to the water exit of the gutter.
One more tip for the selection of ice melt. You should never use rock salt on your roof. Instead, you should choose calcium chloride. First of all rock salt water refreezes when temperature is below -7°C. It will damage your roof even worst with if you have rock salt water frozen to your roof. On the other hand, calcium chloride releases heat as it mixes with water, which not only means it melts ice faster but also means it melts more with less product.
Now you have learned the winter tricks. Your roof is ice-dam-proof.