Need Help!! Window frame leaking (Ice Dam)

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by marisal, Feb 1, 2004.

  1. marisal

    marisal Well-Known Member

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    So, last year and this year we got really bad ice dams on our roof, or I should say hanging off our roof. I told my husband we should add more insulation in our attic, and we just procrastinated about it....Well last night we heard water, (Sounded like the dog peeing in the corner) and we jumped up and there was water pouring out of the frame from our picture window. My husband went in the attic, and at the edge of the house, roof was ice crystals that were melting.
    This morning it is leaking from more than one area on the window.

    My question is what do we do now? Everywhere I looked on-line talked about preventing ice dams, well we have them, and our house is leaking.....I did see somewhere say to take get the snow off the roof, but 10 other places said it was to dangerous....Oh yeah, we are in Upstate NY, so we have about 3 feet or so of snow on the ground and its still snowing....

    Any suggestions?
    We know that we have to add more insulation. we will be doing that.
    We will be moving in about 2 years so we don't wantto spend an enormous amount of money on this, but I fear it might come to that.......

    Help!

    ~marisa
     
  2. Cabin Fever

    Cabin Fever Life NRA Member since 1976 Supporter

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    Just don't add more insulation....make sure you have adequate ventilation in the area above the insulation and below the roof deck. The whole idea is to make that area the same temperature as outside. In other words, if the attic area below the roof deck is the same temp as outside, the snow will not melt from the bottom up....which is the cause of ice dams and leaks.

    What you have to do now is get the melt off of your roof so it doesn't leak inside. You can use heater cables or nylon socks filled with salt to "cut" channels thru the ice dams. This should allow the meltwater to run off the roof. You can also hire a company to come out and steam the snow and ice off the roof....but this is only a temporary fix. If you have this done, make sure you install the roof heater cables when then are finished.
     

  3. Janon

    Janon 993cc Geo Metro

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    Yup, what Cabin said. The water from melting snow runs downhill and then freezes (or puddles) behind the ice dam... the ice dam is above the overhang (which is always as cold as the outside temp). Not enough insulation and improper ventillation are the usual cause (although the right combination of temperature and shaded/sunny areas may do it). Basically, your roof should be the same surface temperature over its entire surface. If you go outside and look at your roof, wherever there is a bare spot not covered with snow... those are the areas of the house which have heat loss from the interior of the house and require insulation.

    Also beware of huge sheets/chunks of ice (the ice dam) falling off the roof... that'll scare ya! Depending on where your entrance doors are, this could be critical. You really should get the ice dam off the roof before the leaking water does too much damage... but be safe.

    cheers,
     
  4. marisal

    marisal Well-Known Member

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    There is no bare spots on my roof. Of course we have about 3 feet of snow.....Yeah, I already opened the front door the other day and about 10 pounds of snow fell on me....was a bit annoying. I hope no one saw :eek:

    My husband found heating cables to put on the roof. We have to do it very soon because its going to be 33 today, 38 tommarow, and then another big storm is coming later in the week with sleet and snow.

    Thanks for the info!

    ~Marisa :)
     
  5. Marisal, we have the same problem. We even insulated the attic area along the side (where the roof meets the wall, no overhang), but we didn't ventilate. So we have a big ice dam. I would suggest getting the most snow off that you can. Up here in Ontario we can buy "roof rakes". If you haven't seen them, they are a rectangular piece of metal attached to a very long, telescopic handle. Stand on the ground, reach it up onto the roof, and pull her down. Works great. DH can reach to about within a foot of the peak on our 1 1/2 storey house. Makes a big difference.

    Cabin Fever, thanks for the salt in the stocking tip. I was just going to throw salt up loose. That's a much better idea.

    rb.
     
  6. Cabin Fever

    Cabin Fever Life NRA Member since 1976 Supporter

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    rb--those metal roof rakes are killers. If you've used one on a couple feet of snow, you know what I mean. The easy way to remove roof snow is with an "Avalanche" roof rake. Using one o' these is actually fun and it doesn't wear you out using it. Here's a couple photos an Avalanche:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    With an Avalanche, all you do is slide a plastic runner between the roof and the snow. The snow detaches and rides the runner down off the roof.
     
  7. Cabin Fever, hey, that's cool! We'll have to check around for one of those.