Ice Dam Prevention Guide For Roof, Gutters, And Valleys

In this article, we will discuss how to prevent ice dams in roof gutters

Ice dam damage can cost you a lot of money and inconvenience. This is why prevention should be a priority in the winter seasons.

Ice Damming Prevention Tips

Since you’re reading this article, I assume you’re in search of some useful ice dam prevention.

Keep reading, as I’ll be giving you all the information you need for preventing ice dams on your roof, gutters, and downspouts.

How To Prevent Ice Dams In Gutters

Many homeowners assume ice dams can only form on the eaves of the roof. That is totally untrue, as it can also form inside the cold gutters.

When this happens, the structural integrity of the gutters will be compromised, and you may be forced to replace them due to ice dam damage.

That being said, it would be wise to take steps to prevent ice dam formation in your gutters.

Here’s what you can do.

  1. Install gutter heaters

Gutter heaters are advanced heat cables that are installed in gutters to keep them warm and prevent the formation of ice dams.

The reason why I call them advanced heat cables is that they have aluminum or copper wrapping over them. This is unlike the regular heat cables that only have a rubber wrapping.

You can install the heat cables yourself, although that would require some technical know-how. You will need to lay the cables carefully and hold them to the walls of the gutters with clips and pins (or tacks).

After the cable has been installed, all you have to do is plug it into an electrical outlet and turn it on. It will begin producing heat immediately and make the gutters too warm for ice dams to form.

  1. Use ice melts

Ice melts can be used to prevent ice dams from forming, as it is known to prevent water from reaching its freezing point.

You can buy a bag of ice melts from a home improvement store and scatter the flakes into your gutters. If any melted snow runs through, it will make contact with the ice melts and won’t be able to refreeze.

Keep in mind that the flowing water can wash away the ice melt flakes, so be sure to replace them regularly.

Ice melts may not be the most effective means of ice damming prevention, but they can go a long way in keeping your gutters un-iceable!

  1. Don’t allow the snow on your roof to melt

This should be a no-brainer since ice dam formation in your gutters is a direct result of snow melting on your roof. That being the case, preventing ice dams from forming in your gutter is as simple as preventing snow melts.

How can you achieve this? Simple, just make sure every part of your roof is at the same chilly temperature.

If you allow heat to escape from your attic into the roof, then one part of the roof will be warm, and this will cause the snow to melt.

The melted snow can flow into your cold gutters and then refreeze. Hence creating the ice dam.

One of the best ways to prevent heat from escaping from your attic is to insulate it. Good insulation will keep the heat trapped in the attic, which in turn will allow your roof to maintain the same all-around freezing temperature.

How To Prevent Ice Dams On Roof

Preventing ice dams from your entire roof isn’t so difficult. Anyone can do it and you may not even need the services of a professional in some cases.

Here’s what you can do to prevent ice damming on your roof.

  1. Insulate your attic

Just as it is with preventing ice dams in gutters, insulating your attic will also help you prevent the formation of ice dams on your roof as a whole.

The idea is as simple as keeping the heat trapped inside the attic, and maintaining a uniform temperature across your entire roof.

Indeed, the sunlight can also melt some snow, but insulating your attic will ensure that the melt isn’t your fault.

  1. Use self-regulated heating cables

Regular heat cables are great, but the problem with them is that they consume too much electricity once they are turned on. This is why most experts advise that you use self-regulated heating cables for ice dam prevention.

So what exactly is a self-regulated heating cable?

This is a regular heating cable with the ability to regulate its temperature automatically.

It gets warm when the outdoor temperature drops, and it cools down when the outdoor temperature rises.

This ability means it will not be producing heat all the time, hence saving money on electrical bills.

  1. Rake your roof regularly

As far as the winter season is concerned, there’s nothing you can do to keep the snow from falling on your roof. However, you don’t have to leave it there.

Melted snow is the main cause of ice dam formation, so getting rid of it as regularly as you can help you reduce the chances of ice dam formation on your roof.

The good news is, all you need to get rid of roof snow is a snow rake.

This is not the regular rake you use to pack up leaves in the garden. A roof rake has a wide blade at the head, and this is what drags the roof snow downwards.

One of the benefits of using a roof rake is that you wouldn’t have to climb up your roof to remove the snow. The rake has a long extendable handle, so you can stand on the floor and stretch out the rake over the snow, then drag it down as much as you can.

Be warned though, do not use a snow rake if there are power lines close to your roof. You will be putting yourself at risk of electrocution if the blade of the rake comes in contact with the power line.


The best way to prevent ice dam formation is to eliminate the snow on the roof or stop it from melting under attic heat, and refreezing when it comes in contact with other cold parts of the roof.

Hopefully, this information has been useful.

Take care!