One of the problems of having too much snow and below freezing temperatures for a week is the gutter ice dam. This happens when the gutter stops draining due to compacted snow or a block of ice. Then, the warm air escaping from your home generates just enough heat to melt the snow pack causing the gutter to fill with water. Hopefully it flows out, and not back in…
You have probably seen how a reservoir gets filled when the dam is closed, well, this is the same type of event except that the water backs up and into your house.
Vienna Real Estate Guy to the Rescue
Over the past two days I have had two friends in Vienna, Virginia call me about leaks inside their homes. One was at a bay window below a soffit vent, and the other was from the roof on a three story colonial. That leak flowed all the way downstairs in the family room. And in both cases, little can be done right now because the ice in the down spouts needs to melt and allow the water to drain properly.
Ice dams are uncommon in Northern Virginia and this year (2010) is unique because we are setting a historic record for annual snowfall. At my home in Vienna, VA, we measured 24″ of fresh snow on Saturday afternoon and another 8″ of snow on Wednesday afternoon. Combine that with below freezing temperatures since last weekend(at 3:38 P.M., it is only 20°) and there really hasn’t been any natural melting.
Homeowner’s insurance was intended to cover ice dams
One of the tell-tail signs of a potential problem is when icicles form from your gutters. The ice is now firmly in place and any melting snow is now flowing right over the gutter. The melting is fine as it flows over the gutter, but when the flow backs up is when it can come through the house.
At this point, I personally have to trust the fact that my builder and roofer did everything possible six years ago to protect my home from an ice dam.
Yes, there is a “Part 2” to this damn ice ice dam story!
When your roof gets repaired one day in the future, make sure there is a drip edge and sufficient roof flashing is installed to prevent water penetration. If you have really had it with asphalt roofs, then maybe you should consider a metal roof where snow slides off much more easily. A friend in Vienna had a metal roof installed recently so I will get that name for this post.