Wet Wall - coming from gutter?

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Old 01-04-14, 10:53 AM
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Wet Wall - coming from gutter?

One of my bedroom walls has a wet spot (less than a square foot), damp to the touch. It's a wall that backs onto outside. We've noticed a wet patch twice in the last few weeks - both times were a couple days after it snowed, and there's snow sitting on our roof. My husband checked the attic to see if melting snow is leaking in, but didn't find any wetness (I should note, our attic is very small and hard to get around in, especially over to the far sides of the house where the wet wall is, so I can't say we've 100% ruled out this source, but we're pretty confident there's not a leak in our roof).

Any ideas where the water could be coming from? I've attached a couple pictures. The first is a picture of the wall that has the wet spot - you can't really see that it's wet, so I've put a red circle where it's located. I should mention that the wet spot last time this happened was about a foot lower.

The other picture is of the outside of the house at this spot. The red circle is about where the wet patch is on the interior wall.
 
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Old 01-04-14, 11:19 AM
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More likely that its ice dam and water under shingles. gets behind drip edge and fascia and follows soffit back to the wall. or even higher.
 
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Old 01-04-14, 11:21 AM
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This sounds like an ice dam backing up the snow melt at the eaves. Remove as much snow as possible all the way to the peak and pray for warm weather to loosen the ice from the shingles. With the snow in place it is acting like insulation and allowing the heat from the attic to melt the bottom layer of snow. When that water flows to the edge of the shingles or gutter it is exposed to the cold air and freezes. It eventually forms a dam and creates a pool of water under the snow and behind the ice. Extremely common up where I live and perhaps new to you because the super cold is not normal. Here is a helpful link.
BSD-135: Ice Dams — Building Science Information

Bud
 
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Old 01-04-14, 11:46 AM
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Bud, that is a great link!...especially for someone who'd never heard of an "ice dam", "fascia", etc. Thanks!

One more question: What are the odds the water inside the wall has done damage/mold to the drywall and/or insulation. We've only lived in the house 2 winters, but I imagine this could have been happening for many snows before then too.
 
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Old 01-04-14, 12:46 PM
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Mold isn't usually a big concern in cold temps. indoors where its warm maybe. it will probably dry out with no special effort.
 
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Old 01-04-14, 01:19 PM
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Alright, one more dumb question: To help dry the wall we've been running a space heater faced directly at it. Should we not? Are we doing more harm (creating a warm environment for mold to grow) than good (drying the wetness)?
 
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Old 01-04-14, 02:38 PM
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Until the snow and ice are gone from the roof, it's probably going to keep leaking.

It's probably a good idea to try and dry the inside ASAP. The heat won't penetrate into the walls too far with these cold temps. I would also run box fans if you can to keep the air moving. If you're worried, spray it with a bit of Tilex once it's dry enough to clean.

Cold air is dry air, so in the winter, moisture can go directly from liquid to vapor by means of sublimation even when it's below freezing.

Some people will hook a hose up to their hot water heater and melt a path through ice dams to encourage drainage from above. But I'd encourage you to do that from a ladder, its not wise to get on an icy roof in the winter.
 
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Old 01-04-14, 02:59 PM
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Thanks, XSleeper!

Great info here, as always.
 
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Old 01-30-14, 08:08 AM
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Similar issue

We also have a wet wall area that keeps re-occurring on an exterior wall. It appears to have been patched over in the past, so not sure how long it has been a problem. On the exterior of the house a downspout was missing at the same location, but we added on a plastic extention piece to the gutter to move any water away from the house. It is still wet inside. Is there something that I am missing?
 
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Old 03-03-14, 10:48 AM
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It was the whole house humidifier!

Turns out our water problem had nothing to do with an ice dam. We're relatively new to the house, which has a whole house humidifier. Turns out the thing was turned up to high and it was causing moisture to build up from inside all throughout the house. Once we discovered the few more places our walls were wet, we realized that the problem must be something broader than an ice dam, and just turning down the whole house humidifier solved the problem.

Just wanted to follow-up in case anyone else out there in internet land finds this thread and this can be of any help.
 
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