Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Anatomy of an Ice Dam

Due to the huge ice dams on the old house at the moment, some water has been leaking inside the house from time to time. I knew from the forecast that last Sunday would actually get above freezing. I didn't want any more snow adding to the ice dams and water damage, so I decided the snow just had to come off the roof. Sunday began with a new batch of snow--of course.

The first accessible rung on the ladder was over five feet off the ground. I ended up carving out foot holds into the snow so I could climb the ladder.

The upper part of the ladder has become part of the ice dam, so the ladder felt very secure.

I like looking at the JayBee from up on the roof. Doesn't it look like a dollhouse?

Good view of the river from up here.

Once I cleared the snow off the roof, I could clearly see that the ice dams are up to three feet wide. The upper edges are one to two inches thick, so they easily trap water that has run down the roof, rather than letting it drain off.

The outside edges of the ice dams are ten to twelve inches thick, further trapping any water that tries to drain.

Case in point. When the sun came out and starting melting ice and snow (it got up to 35 degrees on Sunday--yippee!), puddles starting forming. The water backs up underneath the asphalt shingles, so the shingles are actually part of the ice dam. As long as the weather stays cold, there is no good way to get the ice dams off the roof that won't also take the shingles with it.

By the time I was done cleaning off the roof, the sun had melted the remaining snow. Those ice dams are not going anywhere any time soon, however.

Once I climbed back down to the ground, I had to move a lot of that snow again, of course. Five hours of shoveling on Sunday. Enough!

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