“The Drips,” Day 3

Well, I don’t know if we’re on Day 3 yet because I have my fingers crossed that maybe my house has stopped dripping. Anyway, I found out what happened, and I’ve learned a whole lot about roofs and gutters in the process.

When it snows a lot, you get a lot of snow on the roof – duh. Then the inside of your house is warm, so the bottom layer of snow starts melting and runs down to the gutter. The metal gutter is cold, and it’s cold outside, so the water freezes in there. This is called an ice dam. As more snow melts from the roof, it hits the gutter full of ice and has no place to go. So it makes its way under the roof and down the walls of your house!

The best thing to do is to prevent this from happening. There are different types of heated tapes and things you can install on the edge of your roof and turn on when it snows to melt the snow. There’s also membrane things you can put under the roof that will keep water out. Since this has never happened before, it’s probably due to the massive amount of snow we had, so I don’t think installing electric roof tape is really the way to go for us. But I might call the roofer when it gets a little warmer to see about putting in that membrane, because I think we also get some leakage upstairs when it rains, and I’m sure that would help.

So what can you do if you already have an ice dam situation? You can use a long-handled tool called a roof rake or snow rake to scrape the snow off the first 2-3 feet of your roof. That will give the rest of the snow enough room to melt without clogging up the gutter. The best thing to do is chip away at the ice in the gutter so the built up water can get out. There are apparently companies that will use steam to melt the ice in your gutters. If you can’t reach the gutter, you can fill a stocking with ice melt and throw it up there.

What did we do? Yesterday I called my roof and gutter guy. He said he didn’t really do anything with snow or ice removal, but referred me to a much bigger roofing company in my area. They do do snow removal, and when I called yesterday they were planning their route for today! So I got on their list. I thought they were just going to remove a few feet of snow from the edge of the roof, roof rake style, but GG was home when they came and he said they were up on ladders, banging at the gutters, so this leads me to believe that they were removing ice! (I was happy to hear that, because I thought their price was a little steep just to pull snow off the roof – but I was willing to pay because I just want the dripping to end.) Also, when I found out about the steaming last night, I thought, “I could do that.” I got my steam cleaner and reached out the top of the window, and steamed the bottom of the gutter. I don’t know if that helped any, but hey, it couldn’t have hurt.

So, when I get home this afternoon, I’ll be checking to see if the dripping has stopped, thanks to the clear gutters.

3 comments on ““The Drips,” Day 3

  1. Sorry to hear about this… I’m dealing with the same thing. I had a Ultra Steam Shark that melted quite a bit on a small, lower gutter, but it died on me before I could move on to the big ice dam on the upper floor. I’m contemplating shelling out for a bigger, stronger steamer, but I’d love to hear how it went for you… what kind of steamer do you have and did it indeed melt the dam when used from underneath?

  2. I have a hand-held Shark steam cleaner (the kind that looks like a spray bottle). Glad to hear that it was able to melt some for you! I’m not actually sure if my using it helped any. There was no noticeable change right away. The roofers who came today chipped the ice out of the gutters, and we’ve had no leaking today, so I am very happy about that!

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