Cold, ice could cause problems around the house

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This week's cold snap could heat up two dangerous problems around your house.

One is icing that could damage your house, the other is getting on a ladder, which could damage you.

"Ice damming here is probably an every three-to-five year ordeal," said Pat Sullivan of Sullivan Hardware.

Snow sits in gutters and freezes hard with single-digit temperatures, then pushes moisture up under the shingles.

"That's when it gets into people's houses, causes water spots in homes. It can really cause a lot of damage," Sullivan said.

It can mean expensive drying out, even new drywall.

So what to do with the problem?

You can find products online the size of hockey pucks that you throw on your roof. Eyewitness News tested the products and they work but you need a lot of them.

If you've already got on the roof, one home remedy starts with ice melt and pantyhose. Fill the legs of the hose with the ice melt, tie them off and you may be able to throw them up onto your gutters near the roof.

But be careful about getting on ladders. It is not recommended when the ground is covered with snow and ice. Your snow-packed shoes can lead you to fall from the ladder.

Nearly two million Americans fall from ladders and end up in the emergency room every year. Fractures are the most common injuries. Ten percent of victims are admitted to the hospital.

But really, it's about prevention. You can clean snow off the gutters and roof with a broom or long rake from the ground. There are heat cables that plug in and clear ice from gutters.

"But this is something to put in in the fall or summer. You certainly don't want to be up on the roof (in winter)," Sullivan said.

The best prevention, he says, is good home insulation. Keeping heat in the house prevents the melting that leads to ice dams.

"Prevention. Did I mention prevention?" Sullivan said.