ice dam problem

abbey_cnyJanuary 29, 2009

Well, it isn't quite a disaster, but bad enough, and I am looking for some helpful info. I have had an ongoing problem with ice dams on one section of the roof in the 8 years I have owned this house. My first step was to insulate the attic. No ice dams for the first couple of years following that, probably because we had rather mild winters. First normal winter we had the ice dams were back, although not quite as bad as before. Now, over this past weekend, I awoke to find water pooling on the inside of my bow window all over the sill and the floor. The ice dam has been cleared off, but I am concerned because I had the roof replaced a year ago, and the work included the ice/water shield under the 1st 4 feet of the roof. Shouldn't this have prevented the water from coming into the house? The roof replacement also included improving the roof ventilation (added a ridge vent) so I am wondering what else I can do to prevent this problem. Thanks for any helpful suggestions!


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The water must have backed up more than 4 feet.

    Bookmark   January 30, 2009 at 9:29AM
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Heat tape......put some zigzagging over the 2 or3 feet in from the edge of the roof.
Linda c

    Bookmark   January 30, 2009 at 11:15AM
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We had ice dams this winter, too, and we have 6' of membrane under our shingles! We think the water was going between the gutter & facia board, then running into the window & leaking. It all melted in 1 day so we dind't have to do anything other than DH getting on the ladder & pounding the ice with a hammer, but I did read online that you can fill pantyhose with calcium chloride and lay them on top of the ice in the gutters, and it will melt the ice. If it happens again we will do that.

We have a Cape Cod style house and they are bad for ice dams. Could it be the style of your house?

Do a google search on "ice dam removal" and you'll find a ton of ways to remove - but a lot of the cites mention the panty hose & calcium chloride so it must work.

    Bookmark   February 10, 2009 at 7:46PM
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Hi, Abbey

We had the same problem about five years ago. Turned out the company that installed the new roof didn't bother with replacing the copper flashing around the chimney because the porch roof connects there - too many angles for them or something. So we paid another company to do it.

You might have someone check whether you have new flashing around the bay window.

    Bookmark   February 11, 2009 at 8:05PM
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thanks all for the replies. I got the ice dam cleared up by my roofer, and had an energy audit done. Turns out the attic insulation job I had done after I first bought the house wasn't done so well. Soffit vents are blocked by insulation, and there isn't enough insulation at the edge of the roof. I have a split level, and the area where the ice dams always form is where my upper roof meets/overhangs my lower roof, and water appears to run down from my upper roof to my lower roof (above the roof membrane) and then pools, freezes, etc. on the edge of the lower roof. So more insulation is in my future, and this time it should do the work, along with clearing the soffit vents. I am hopeful, anyways. Gotta love winter, lol.


    Bookmark   February 16, 2009 at 7:28PM
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