Saturday, December 15, 2007

the ice dams cometh

Along with the beauty of the recent storm, comes the dig out. The temperatures rose enough during the day to start the melt, but once the sun goes down, so does the thermometer. This creates the perfect weather for ice dams.

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The first winter I lived in this cabin was when I learned about ice dams. The husband was still living and working in the city during the week, and I was alone with a toddler. The snow was piling up, and the icicles were growing longer each day. I thought they were gingerbread on a house...icicles on the eves of a cabin in the woods looked like a picture out of a storybook to me. What did I know about the perils of ice dams?

I remember a certain phone call one day back then. It was after I had come home from shopping, to discover water running down the log walls inside the house. There were large puddles of water on the floor. I panic. I went down to the basement and turned off the water. I called my husband and explained the trouble. The conversation went something like this....

me: "There is water running down the walls...I think a pipe must have burst!"
husband: "Where is the water coming from?"
me:"It is coming down from the ceiling and running down the walls!"
husband: "Well, it can't be a leaky pipe, we have no pipes in the walls upstairs, all the plumbing is on the first floor!"
me: "Then where is the water coming from?!!"
husband: " must have ice dams"
me: "?????"
I had to wait 3 days for him to get here and fix things. Three days of mopping up water. I wanted to move.

We no longer have to worry about the water coming in. We have replaced the roof, insulated and added a membrane to prevent that. But the ice dams still happen because we have an eve where the ice can build up. If we don't remove the snow, the ice dams will form ..this seems to happen when we get a sizable snow storm- followed by a fast melt...If the ice dams get to big they will pull the gutters off. There are special electric cables that you can run to melt the ice...just flick a switch and presto, melt! Or there is the good old fashion way, get a roof shovel, and shovel it off.

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.....think I can convince him that it is about time to install those cables?


judy said...

We have a roof rake. It sure isn't easy to rake it off, especially when it starts to ice up and you are standing on top of several feet of snow with your snowshoes. Ladders become too cumbersome as the winter progresses. M make it look easy.

pacalaga said...

Looks pretty, though.

Donna B said...

I read "when my husband was living" and thought he had died. But that is him in the picture, correct. So glad he is still around to help you avoid ice catastrophe.

Pat K said...

I guess there's just no end to those chores, is there. They only change with the seasons.

Cathy said...

Oh yes. Ice Jams. I learned about that when I lived in Steamboat Springs in a log house. It wasn't our roof, tho. Our roof needed more insulation. Our roof was the only bare one that first winter. The roof was very very steep. We elected to move to town. I, too, had a toddler.

Lisa at Greenbow said...

Ihave never heard of Ice dams. What a terrible surprise to find water dripping down your walls. UGH.

I am surprised that your husband isn't singing "all I want for christmas is ice melt cables." :)

Sharon said...

The perils of snow! Your photos make it look like fun, rather than the chore that it would be! Keep warm!

elizabeth said...

A roof shovel? I had no idea such a thing existed! He looks SOOO cold!

Dawn said...

At our house we don't have a problem with ice dams ..... barn shape roof and we didn't put up gutters. This system has worked well for us. My children (toddler and infant) and I lived alone as well while my DH lived and worked in the city during the week. No vehicle, no phone and 1/4 mile from my nearest neighbour. A trying time but we made it.

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