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Dealing with Roof Snow, Ice and Ice Dams
Posted on Feb 4th, 2011

You can make one from old panty hose or kids tights. You just fill them with ice melt like you would use on your driveway. Use the good kind that has the corrosion prevention additve to keep you from killing plants and messing up your outside walls and gutters. You then tie off the end and if you really want to be fancy, tie a nylon rope to one end with enough length that when you put in on your roof, you can pull it off.
Once you are ready to add these, space the ice melt socks every 4-10 feet perpendicular to the gutter with one end hanging just over the gutter. The ice will melt allowing the water built up behind the ice dam to run down the gutter or over the edge rather than into your house. Trust me on this. I didn't think this would work when my wife found it on the internet.  We had water coming into the house for three days.  Once we put the ice melt socks up, the water stopped coming in and I didn't even put them up right.  I've gone back and added more now.  Wish I had done this before the water started coming in. 
I've added a couple of links for making these yourself or buying the really good ones.  I've also added a couple of links for Snow rakes in case you want to get the snow off before you put the ice melt socks up.  This is recommended.  I've also added a general article on ice dams, what they are, etc. by the U of Minnesota.  They ought to know how to deal with ice and snow right?
Ice Melt Socks Sites