Joys of Being a Homeowner - Ice Dams

Being a homeowner in Minnesota in the winter can sometimes be a pain in the ass. Especially when the previous owners of our house treated it like a rental. They did nothing. Absolutely nothing besides probably hiring painters to do the whole house in a light baby shit brown color. Go figure.

By the way - the previous owners had Ph.D.s' and one is now a professor at Harvard. So no, no street smarts (before you get your panties in a bunch, I'm not saying that all professors do not have street smarts, just the people that owned our house).

Let's talk about ice dams. Let's talk about what we're going to do about ice dams. And mainly, let's talk about what caused these ice dams so that you, my readers, can learn from our experience.

Yesterday, I wished that I lived in a condo. And had lots of wine. And beer.

Last night after getting home from baking pies with my fabulous friends (Kathy: you are awesome for hosting and don't worry, baking is trial and error sometimes but you will make delicious pies! Buck: you are going to make fabulous bread and pies, don't worry about being a hippy, I've got a composter!), I found this:

 This is a very wet plaster cove ceiling. VERY WET.NOT GOOD. LIKE I NEED TO TAKE A SHOT OF VODKA RIGHT NOW NOT GOOD.
 You can see that it's near the front door. I just about had a heart attack. I panicked, then put my glasses on and went outside. Bimmer Man grabbed the roof rake (more about that later).

The arrows show where to look for the ice dams. You can see the large chunks of ice in the gutters and partially on the roof. This is NOT GOOD. 
 Here's another shot of the ice dams with no arrows. Now, one of the reasons why we have ice dams HERE in this spot is because there is NO INSULATION in the attic space above the living room. So that area is much warmer than the outside, which means that the heat in that area is melting the snow on the roof (but not all the way, so it re-freezes, causing ice dams). 

Another reason why we have ice dams besides NO INSULATION: I could not get the gutters cleaned out before the first snow. There's leaves, dirt and junk in the gutters causing the water to back up. This spring I will be getting some sort of gutter guards so I don't have to worry about cleaning them as much.

There are no ice dams on this part of the house. Why? Because there's adequate insulation to keep the attic at the same temperature as the outside, so no ice dams. No temperature changes, no worries. What also helps is a roof rake, and getting the snow off the roof so that there's not an influx of melting snow to re-freeze at night. And Roof Melt, which I pretty much saw the ice dams and bolted out to the garage to run to Jerry's Hardware store for yesterday. So here's our plan:

1. Buy insulation for the attic above the living room
2. Continue to rake the roof
3. Continue to improve my throwing arm with Roof Melt pucks
4. Repair the plastic in the living room, once the ice dams have gone away and we know that they are not coming back.
5. If they do come back, then we're going to hire people to come and melt them away.

But we do have one happy dog in the family who LOVES all the snow! I'll leave you with a happy picture instead of awful ice dams.

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