May Day!!! Ice Dam with water leak inside the house.

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  #1  
Old 01-27-11, 05:52 PM
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May Day!!! Ice Dam with water leak inside the house.

Oh Crap!

I noticed a small drip coming into the kitchen cieling, dripping onto the top of my cabinets. I did a bit or research and relaized I probably have ice dams.

I went outside to inspect and sure enough, I have huge isicles, and my gutters are filled solid with ice.

I have traced the leak to an area of the roof where the main plumbing vent escapes the roof. It seems the water has backled up the roof and is following the pipe down and into the kitchen on the first floor.

I'm in deep sh$t here...

I have a feeling that my roof sofit vents are covered when the previous homeowner resided over the wood shingles with vinyl. The attic has one gable vent and one ridge vent. Blown in cellulose which is surely covering the soffit vents... Obviously the venting needs to be addressed...

What should I do??? I'm in a bit of a panic here.

I'll probably go to HD and see if I can find a roof rake, but what else can I do to minimize the damage???

Please Help!

Thanks,

Bryan
 
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  #2  
Old 01-27-11, 06:08 PM
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Very familiar with the problem. The ice at the edge of your roof has built up and is holding water behind it. If you simply remove the snow, it needs to be warm enough so the water there doesn't freeze to the shingles. Checking the temperatures for Boston and Framingham, it doesn't look good for warm temps. If you can work the edge of the roof, rake the snow and then carefully remove some of the ice. I have used all kinds of tricks, but often will take a chunk out of the shingles.

If you rake back just a couple of feet, then it may simply form a new dam, so clear off as much as you can.

I still have one problem area and will try some flood lamps this week to see if I can get the heat down to the shingles so the ice will release easily. Once it lets go of the shingles, a couple of smacks with a hammer and it will come off easily. Make sure the ice doesn't take you with it.

They also have some shingle/lawn friendly pellets, not salt, that may help. If you can find any.

bud
 
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Old 01-27-11, 07:19 PM
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Thanks Bud,

the problem is also the gutters, as the dam includes the huge buildup in the gutters. It is SOLID and I don't think it is going to thaw any time soon.

HD and Lowes are out of roof rakes. I cant' get up to the second floor roof withour extension ladders which I must burrow from my neighbor.

The leak dripping through the kitchen cieling is steady and has me worried. I wave a catch basin/drain system above the cabinets to catch the drips. I'm worriend about the cieling now.

This is the first winter with the gutters installed. I think this may be why the previous owner removed their gutters many years back....

Hmm, I wonder if my homeowners will cover repairs should I need to fix the cieling???

UGH!
 
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Old 01-27-11, 09:51 PM
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It may be time to call your home owners insurance company and have them deal with it. There is damage inside now and a strong possibility that the gutters and roof will be damaged in the removal process. But a professional crew will be able to get up there NOW and remove the problem before you totally flood inside.

Bud
 
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Old 01-28-11, 07:06 AM
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I have a similar problem. I don't want to hijack your thread, but perhaps someone can offer a solution for both our problems.

All along the east side of my house is a massive ice damn. Yesterday morning when I woke up I heard dripping water and saw it was coming from a window. I went up into the attic and sure enough, almost that entire side of the house has dripping water.

I'm at a loss on how to clear channels in the ice dams to allow water through. I've tried filling knee high nylon stockings with salt and laying them perpendicular to the roof so they hang a little over the gutters. This is what every websites says to do ... but in 24 hours they haven't moved through the ice even a single inch!

I've also tried taking buckets of hot water to melt through, while it got ride of some of it, it didn't get ride of a lot and it hasn't solved anything ... today I'm still getting water dripping in at the top of the window frame and it's worse than it was yesterday.

The weather here is not good, 20's for the next 10 days with more snow on the way. The worst possible weather for ice damns possible.

I've considered getting a snow rake, but I've read a lot of conflicting information about them. Some places say to not use them at all since you risk damage to your shingles. Same goes for using a chisel to break through the ice.

Homeowners insurance will only cover damage from ice dams (if you're covered at all) and will not cover removal of ice dams.

I know the long term solution is to fix ventilation, but that can't be done now and I have water leaking in >.> There is no damage that I can see, yet, but that will certainly change if this continues for weeks waiting for the weather to warm up.

I bought the house in May 2009, there was no ice dam problem last year, this year we've had a lot more snow plus it rained once with a foot of snow on the ground which I think is what caused it to get worse. The attic has blown in cellulose insulation, most of the house has ~12 to 18 inches of it. An area around the access door has flooring for storage space so the insulation is only 8" there. I'm guessing the problem is ventilation, there is a ridge vent, and all the construction for soffit vents ... but I'm willing to bet the soffits don't really exists under the vinyl siding.

EDIT: Also the problem with calling the homeowners insurance company is increased rates for the rest of your life. They keep an insurance score, similar to FICO credit scores, and it will affect both your homes and your cars rates because it shows you're a risk for actually making claims ... oh how I hate those companies.
 

Last edited by Geomancer; 01-28-11 at 07:43 AM.
  #6  
Old 01-28-11, 07:43 AM
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Removing the snow and exposing the ice to the cold will freeze the water and stop the current leaks. The problem is, you still have a huge ise dam that is now more solid than you are currently dealing with, so yes the snow should be removed, but the ice dams should immediately be breached to drain off that water. It is a chore and if it is 2 stories, it is dangerous.

Ice requires a lot of energy to melt it. I don't like salt as the salt solution may also leak back into your house and it will certainly land on your lawn. Steam is what the pros use for culverts and ice removal.

The sun will work even if it is below freezing, but it doesn't remain high very long.

You might call around to see if there are any companies doing ice removal. It would be a trade off for the damage that is occurring.

Bud
 
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Old 01-28-11, 07:57 AM
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My home is single story, so not too high to access. Next to the house is rocks, they lawn is roughly 3 feet back from the house on that side so I'm not too concerned over it killing the grass.

The biggest access problem is the 3-4 feet of snow on the ground that's built up over the numerous storms we've had the past two weeks. I'll have to look around and see if I can even find a roof rake, otherwise I'd have to order online which would take 2+ days.

Any tips on who you would call? I've tried doing so searches, nothing comes up, but most contractors don't have a presence on the internet at all (which is really dumb really) and no one mentions ice dam removal in the yellow pages. Just any roofing contractor?
 
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Old 01-28-11, 06:59 PM
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Attic Heat

From all I read about ice dams, seems the problem is created from both the sun and excess heat escaping from the living space and rising to the peak of the attic.

My question is, can you temporarily use an electric space heater in the attic near ice dam area or the lowest part of the roof?

My attic floor is insulated so its just the sheathing, tar paper and shingles between the attic and the ice. Simple physics makes me think heat rising from the lowest part of the roof would clear up the issue.

I have searched the net and haven't found any info on this. Can anyone with more experience on ice dams comment.

Thanks
 
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Old 02-04-11, 02:09 PM
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stocking trick to remove.

I used the pantyhose leggs filled with both a mixture of (salt and melt) and just the salt. the salt and melt mixture worked like a charm; the salt only not so much. I was amazed how well the mixture worked on the dams.
 
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Old 02-04-11, 03:07 PM
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I think caution is in order when recommending any salt product on ones roof. Some of that water may find its way into your home and certainly some will reach the flashing and metal trim. Salt will eat most metals and shorten their life. It is a short term fix with long term consequences.

Bud
 
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Old 02-04-11, 05:42 PM
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Some years ago I had dams on the first floor roof. I chiseled carefully into the dam at 1 to 2 foot intervals and eventually water spurted out. You don't have to go down to the shinggles, nor do you have to remove large chunks of ice. Just make holes until water runs out, probably on you like it did to me, but i was happy anyway. Eventually I put up heat cables (Lowes) in the zig-zag pattern and no more problems.
 
  #12  
Old 02-05-11, 09:34 AM
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dam ice!

This is the year of the ice dam, no doubt about it.

There are as many suggestions for correction as there are contractors!. When we first experienced ice dam leaks a couple of years ago, we replaced the entire roof.

That didn't work as we've had buckets catching the very same drips this winter.

This year, we tried ice melt in knee highs. We've tried pouring boiling water. We've cheseled away some ice 'streams and valleys'. I've even lowered the interior temperatures to try to contain some heat!

We had a (gutter installer/cleaner) guy shovel the snow off the roof (not inexpensively), but honestly can't be sure whether or nor that did anything as less than a week later we got more snow.

We now have a guy coming to get up there to shovel the roof and then create channels in the dams theoretically - and hopefully - to allow the snow/ice to melt outside the house (as it is supposed to!). It ain't cheap, I can tell you that. Is he cashing in on the nature of the beast? I dunno...

We also have an insulation/ventilation specialist coming -again hopefully - to address what we believe may be the root cause of the problem: insulation in the walls, ceilings and possibly attic.

(And then of course, we'll be painting - again - in the Spring...)

All who address this problem are BUSY with a capital B, but in Framingham/metrowest area (as the original poster is), you can get the roof raked by at least one landscaping company (All Landscaping/Northboro. Didn't use, but they seemed nice and were professionally responsive. They use ladders so can get more of the snow off than you can standing on the ground at a fairly reasonable cost ). Sudbury Seamless Gutters will get up there and shovel the snow off for a mid-range cost (but unlike what is stated on their website, they did not address the ice at all).

The guys we have scheduled to remove snow/tackle ice dam AND the guys who'll estimate insulation needs were found on Angie's list (maybe worthwhile to join for a limited membership? Google Angie's List coupons to get best price) If you use any from Angie's List, negotiate using Angie's List as an ace. Most are eager to get good reviews.)

Good luck to all of us!
 
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