Winter Woes: Ice Dams, Round 2

This has been the worst winter. I know people say that every year, but this has truly been the worst one that I’ve experienced in the 12 years I’ve lived in New England.

The ice dams just won’t quit. We had bad ice dams in January after the 3-foot blizzard. We chipped them out, added insulation, said a few prayers and we thought we were good.

We thought wrong.

The ice dams are back and man are they back with a vengeance. I know everyone has ice dams this year. I know that everyone has water coming in their house. That doesn’t make me feel better.

In preparation for the ice storm followed by a random 40-ish degree day, we removed snow from our roof and set to work trying to melt the latest round of ice dams. Our ice dams happen on one side of our house – the one that gets the morning sun. The sun melts the snow on the front edge of the roof, allowing snow from farther up to sort of slide down on top of the half melted stuff. We have a fairly steep roof, so this happens pretty easily and you can hear it happening in the house. The snow that slides down then freezes on top of the half melted stuff once the sun moves. The sun is only on the front of our house for a few hours. After several days of this, we wind up with ice that goes over the gutters and out about half a foot in sort of a frozen waterfall looking sculpture. Somehow, the ice gets behind the gutter and enters the house.

It’s not coming through the roof, like with a traditional ice dam. Our roof is 100 percent dry. It’s coming in behind the gutter and entering the space between our roof and the floor of the attic. It follows the beams and finds creative places to drip down, like near recessed lights.

We feel completely helpless to stop this. Our heat ducts are on top of the attic floor, so if we add insulation on top of all that, we will still have heat from the main living area getting into the 6-inch gap between the ceiling of the house and the floor of the attic. It will still escape. We will still get ice dams. We will still have issues.

I can’t find any answers on how to fix this. I’m thinking blown insulation will help, but it will get destroyed if the water comes in and touches it. There has to be a way to block the water from being able to get from behind the gutter to the inside of the house, but I don’t know what that is.

Hopefully, a couple hours of Googling and internet research will give me the answers I need. Wish me luck!

And P.S. – If you’re battling never-ending ice dams, you’re not alone!! Sling those useless pantyhose onto your roof with pride and when I drive past your house, I’ll be like hey – there’s someone I can be friends with. They would totally get what I’m going through.

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