Ice dams and porch roofs

February 10, 2015

This is probably the fourth time we’ve had ice dam problems in the house.  Water was streaming inside Jordan’s back window between the sashes, water was dripping on the first floor through the ceiling near the back door, the upstairs bathroom window had a persistent drip — these were the most egregious symptoms (although the water damage to the kitchen ceiling is pretty outstanding, too).  After more than 24 hours of this, I texted Joe, our contractor, in part because I was going to have to get up during the night even more frequently than the previous night to empty the collection containers and in part because of the coincidence of the leaks with the new storm windows he installed this fall — previous ice dam damage had been elsewhere in the house.  It was late, he said he’d be over in the morning.

Joe and Nick showed up while I was still shoveling this morning.  Long story short, they came back in the afternoon with a snow rake, and removed snow from the first floor roof in the back of the house, below the dormer.  Now, it was pretty clear that the water was coming in from the dormer roof above the second-floor windows, but Joe’s ladder was under 5 feet of snow, so he started working on what he could reach from the ground.

And the drips have slowed considerably.  Maybe the water now has a way down on the exterior of the house.

Joe also shoveled off the snow on the second-floor porch.  The snow on it was pretty high, but the snow on the porches across the street is higher — above the railings.  Mine apparently benefited from favorable winds and maybe the way my house is kind of set back and nestled between two other houses at a slight curve in the road.

So we are good to go — to sleep without frequent interruptions.  So I can, in turn, bring the car in for service tomorrow — the windshield-wiper fluid isn’t coming out, even though the tank is full and cleaning out the jets with a pin hasn’t helped.  I guess “it’s always something” during the winter, but when there’s progress on the previous issues, at least it feels more like a hurdles race than a slog.

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