Icicle and ice damming problems–it’s déjà vu all over again!

by

GreenHomes; Roof IceIt’s a bit like Groundhog Day, that charming movie starring Bill Murray.  (And incidentally, Punxsutawney Phil didn’t see his shadow today, and thus we’re due for an early spring—hard to believe given the weather over the last two days.)   Just like BM’s character reliving Groundhog Day again and again, we keep seeing homes with icicle and ice damming problems over and over.  And we keep seeing some short-sighted “solutions”.

We’ll likely see a lot of problems over the next week or so with all the snow that’s been dumped across the Midwest and Northeast in the last couple of days. 

And so it’s interesting to see an article in Wednesday’s Wall Street Journal, Homeowners Beware:  After Snow, the Ice Dam Cometh.

big icicles; roof iceReporter Gwendolyn Bounds points to some of the risks to your home from ice damage and leaks.  (And the danger from falling ice or falling off your roof if you’re foolish enough to climb up threre to try to shovel it.  Don’t get up on your snow covered roof—it’s very dangerous, and you could get seriously injured or die.)

It was interesting to see some of the solutions offered:

  • Pay someone to remove ice from your roof.  Cost $200-$300 per hour!  Perhaps $1,000 per instance.   And keep losing heat from your home.  And next big snow storm, do it again.  And so on, and so on.  I guess that’s OK, if you’ve got money to burn.
  • Pay to install electric ice melting cables.  Hmmm, send a lot of money to the utility to heat your home, create an ice problem on your roof, and then pay somebody to install electric cables so that you can send more money to the utility.  Sounds like a good idea…for the utility.  (BTW, don’t forget to turn the cables off and not let them run all summer.)
  • Or, fix the underlying problem so that you don’t get the ice build-up to begin with.  And save energy and lower your utility bills permanently.  And make your home more comfortable, cozy, with few drafts.

OK, I’m biased.  But there really only seems like one solution that makes any sense in the long term.  It’s too late for this storm.  So keep your fingers crossed that the ice doesn’t hurt anyone or lead to a roof leak.  But learn more about the real causes of big icicles and ice damming, and take the steps to have a good home energy assessment and air-seal and insulate your attic properly to avoid the problem—and save a lot of money that you currently pay the utility—in the future.

Thanks,
Mike

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