DIY Roof Ice Melters
DIY Roof Ice Melters

DIY Roof Ice Melters


The ice buildup on the little roof above our front entrance hall is getting to be of epic proportions.  Here’s a picture I took on Saturday:


It’s 6-8″ thick.  And it’s not just our roof that looks like that – it’s EVERYONE’S roofs.  I did a walk-around the house, scoping out the roof/ice situation.  The majority of the issues are on the driveway side of the house and are contained to our little entrance roof and the section of main roof right above it:


Here’s the roof on the other side of the house [the Riverwalk bridge side]:


Much better!  That side gets way more sun.

Jim had read a few years ago about making your own roof ice melters from old socks and ice melt/rock salt.  I also saw some coverage on the news last week about it.  We had some Ice Melt in the basement, so we pooled together our old socks [Jim] and old nylons/tights [me] and made some rock salt sausages:

124d        124e

124f        124g

Then we went out on the deck and tossed a bunch up onto the main roof:

124h        diy ice dam roof ice melters on the roof during snowmageddon 2015

A few of mine rolled off the roof into the tree.  Luckily Jim has long monkey arms and could reach them from the girl cave window:

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I also got the ladder out [again] and shoveled all the snow I could off the entrance hall roof:

putting diy ice dam roof ice melters on the roof during snowmageddon 2015        putting diy ice dam roof ice melters on the roof during snowmageddon 2015

Then tossed/placed some more sausages up there:

diy ice dam roof ice melters on the roof during snowmageddon 2015        124m

SUNDAY 2/22:

It was much warmer Sunday [high 30’s] than it had been, and sunny!  So I went back up on the ladder to check things out.  The sun had done some good work:


And one of the sock sausages on the main roof looked like it had made a channel through the ice:

124o        diy roof ice melter making quick work of the ice dam during snowmageddon 2015


Here’s the view of our driveway from the ladder – or where our driveway usually is – it’s 50% snowbank now:


I also shoveled the inch of slushy ice off the deck while I was at it:

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Too bad it’s too freakin’ cold out to use it!

MONDAY 2/23:

I forgot to mention that when I was back up on the ladder yesterday [Sunday], I rotated the nylon sausages on the entrance hall roof to be perpendicular to the roof line, like the one on the main roof that is doing such a good job of melting through the ice dam. So I did actually take your suggestion, Dad, but before you gave it!  I just forgot to mention that in my post.  Here’s 2 pics I took this morning:

124w        124x

It’s kind of hard to get decent pics without the ladder, but I think you can see they’re perpendicular.  I stood in the doorway of my car to get that 2nd pic – it elevated me enough that I could sort of see onto the roof.  Also, you can see that the dark blue sock on the main roof has created a channel all the way through the ice dam, down to the roof.  Go sock!


This morning the entrance hall roof looked better than it has in days:

124y        124z

I think the sun is helping to melt the ice, now that I got most of the snow shoveled off.  Also, the nylon sausages seem to be doing good work!

The sock sausages on the main roof are also doing well – you can see a few embedded in the snow above the ice dam, and the one that is melting it’s way through the dam in a nice, wide channel:

diy ice dam roof ice melters on the roof during snowmageddon 2015        124zb

I froze my butt off on the deck taking those pics this morning, with slippers and a sweatshirt instead of boots and a jacket – it was -4° which was making the river smoke:


My mom brought up some good issues via email this morning, such as how are we going to get the sock and nylon sausages OFF the roof this Spring… hadn’t really given that any thought!  When you have this much snow and ice, things like that sort of slip your mind in favor of just doing something to help the situation asap!  However, if my Little Giant ladder doesn’t reach the roof fully extended, it will be a great excuse for me to go buy an extension ladder this Spring!

She also mentioned the DIY roof ice melters should be in nylons, not socks… too late now, Mom!!!  We’ll remember that for next year.  Although that blue sock IS doing a superb job of melting it’s way through the giant ice dam on the main roof!

She also mentioned that the sausages should be behind the ice dam, which I had read too, and which most of them are.  I placed 2 of them perpendicular to the entrance hall roof ice dam, as Dad mentioned, but the rest are above the ice dam.  We had no way to manually place the ones on the main roof:  it was just pot luck depending on where they landed as we tossed them from the deck.  We did a pretty good job of getting most above the ice dam.  The one that is eating through the ice dam is making me very happy *nods*.  And a few rolled off the roof down into the 7′ snowbank that used to be our driveway.  There’s no way to get those until Spring [unless we body surf over the snowbank and dig, but neither of us wanted to do that…].  Jim and I both did internet research before making the DIY roof ice melters and tossing them on the roofs.


The nylon sausages are doing a bang-up job of melting channels through the ice dam:

diy roof ice melter making quick work of the ice dam during snowmageddon 2015


It has been warm enough and rainy enough lately that the 2 roofs that had ice dams are free of all snow and ice!  It’s great to see dark black shingles out there instead of 8″ of ice.  And the sock and nylon sausages seem to take care of themselves – the rock salt inside them slowly disappears and they end up blowing off the roof onto the ground.  There are still a couple plastered to the roof, but I think a few more sunny, warm days and they’ll blow down as well.  Score!

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    1. Nine Dark Moons

      Ya, I actually did, just forgot to mention it! At least the ones on the edge of the entrance hall roof. We can’t reach the ones on the main roof – they were sort of hit or miss depending on where/how they landed! Thankfully one landed perpendicular and has done a stellar job of creating a channel through the ice dam!

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