Got ice dams? Learn what to do and how to prevent them to save energy

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Ice dams, both awe-inspiring and terrifying, are showing up on many Minnesota homes this winter thanks to heavy snowfall and extreme cold.

The Minnesota Department of Commerce offers tips for how to deal with ice dams now and how to prevent them in the future, which can also save you money on your heating bills.

One way to prevent ice dams is by removing snow from your roof. While you can try to do it yourself with a snow rake, it may be best to hire a professional snow remover, especially if it takes getting on the roof or using a ladder. Put safety first.

If you have an ice dam that is already causing water damage to your interior ceilings and walls, hire a professional ice dam removal service that uses steamers.

A few things you should not do

• Do not install heating cables. They will shorten the life of your roof and add to your energy costs.

• Do not remove ice with chippers, chemicals or heat. These can damage shingles, gutters and other building components.

• Do not add roof vents, including powered vents. They will not eliminate ice dams and often make the problem worse. . . .

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