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Photo: northlight (Shutterstock) Ice dams are the result of a freeze-and-thaw cycle when there’s snow on your roof, and they suck. They can cause damage to your roof and gutters, and in the worst scenarios they can even damage your home’s structure. But there are things you can (and should) do to prevent and mitigate ice dams. Stop ice dams before they start by cleaning your gutters The best thing you can do to keep ice dams from forming on your roof is to keep gutters and downspouts clear. Make sure to remove leaves and debris from your gutters and inspect downspouts to make sure they’re flowing freely. Remove any obstacles that can keep water from draining off your roof, and that’ll help stop the freeze-and-thaw cycle from forming ice blockages. Install a de-icing system on your house If you know that ice dams are common to your home, you can install a de-icing cable that goes for about $70 per 100 feet. While self-installed de-icing cables can help, they do create a potential hazard if you rake or sweep snow off of your roof, as the cable can become dislodged. If you live in an area where de-icing is a common problem, a professionally installed de-icing system is a good option. Although installing permanent heated panels can be expensive, it’s less expensive than replacing your roof or repairing the water damage from a leak. Use a roof rake when the heavy snow starts Once the snow starts, a […]