This Hack for Getting Rid of Ice Dams is a Total Bust

This Hack for Getting Rid of Ice Dams is a Total Bust

Pantyhose with salt on roofCourtesy of StructureTech

If you live in a part of the country where snow accumulates on your roof in the winter, you likely know all about ice dams. Ice dams are ridges of ice that form along the edges of your roof during the freeze-melt-refreeze cycles and they prevent the melting snow from draining off the roof. Ice dams can cause water to back up and leak into your home, causing significant damage to your roof, walls, insulation and ceilings.

While there are some tried-and-true methods for getting rid of ice dams, one popular method is a waste of time: salt-filled pantyhose won’t melt away your ice dams. This method, which is a total bust, involves filling pantyhose with salt or some kind of deicing tablets and then hoisting the filled pantyhose onto the edges of your roof. The filled pantyhose, in theory, should melt the ice underneath and help the melted water flow down the gutter and away from the roof.

Heat cables are a sensible, simple and inexpensive solution for ice dams.

Some testers of the salt-filled pantyhose method say while the salt in the pantyhose can melt the ice, melting just doesn’t happen fast enough to make much of a difference. If you are already having a problem with ice dams causing damage, the last thing you want is a solution that takes too long.

Testers also noted that putting salt directly on the ice dam is far more effective than using salt stuffed into pantyhose, but it still doesn’t work fast enough.

In addition, the salt-filled pantyhose look pretty ridiculous up there on your roof and there’s a chance that the salt residue will discolor your roof—not something you’ll want to deal with in the spring.

If you do have an ice dam causing issues and don’t feel you can deal with it yourself, it’s best to call an ice-dam removal professional.

Try these 12 hacks for removing ice this winter.

These are the 12 things homeowners neglect every winter.

Rachel Brougham
Rachel Brougham lived through a major home renovation in 2019, knows the ups and downs of home improvement, and loves sharing tips with readers. A veteran journalist of both print and television, she’s won several awards for her writing and has covered everything from the environment and education to health care, politics and food. She’s written for several publications beyond newspapers including Bob Vila, Taste of Home and Minnesota Parent, and she currently writes a weekly syndicated newspaper column. Her memoir, Widowland, about the sudden loss of her husband, was published in 2022. She specializes in everything from home decor and design to lawn and garden, product reviews and pet care. When she’s not writing, you can usually find her tending to her garden (both vegetables and native plants), playing with her dog, watching sports with her family or getting some exercise. A native of Michigan, she currently lives in Minneapolis. An avid user of Instagram, you can follow her @RachBrougham.