Build that Dam

Warning: The below was written as a bit of tongue-in-cheek fun. Beware that snarky, sarcastic writing below is not intended to be harmful or hurtful. 

Facebook has been flooded with a veritable deluge of questions about ice dams this week, so I thought that someone should crack the code surrounding ice dams once and for all.

So, here it is: how to cause an ice dam in you house, resulting in water dripping from your ceiling:

1. Wait for winter snows to accumulate.

2. Do nothing.

Don’t worry. If  you wait long enough, the snow functioning as an insulator on your roof will begin to melt from the heat escaping from your ceiling.  Then, freezing temperatures will turn this water into ice. You can tell that this is happening when looking at the icicles forming along your roofline, or from the layers of ice building along your gutter.

Don’t worry about this. This is, essentially, the dam forming- this is what you have been waiting for.

Now, the snow melting on the under layer of your roof has no where to go. Great news, this is soon going to be dripping in your kitchen or bedroom. Just let it keep melting on your roof, for now. Others may try to scrape snow from the bottom layers of their rooflines, or use snowmelt to create a place for the water to escape along the dam. Don’t be foolish; why spend your hard earned money paying someone, or worse yet, wasting your precious time precariously ascending your icy roof just to remove the snow.  You already spent time and/or money clearing your driveway. Don’t waste more on your roof. Just let that melting snow pool up behind the dam of ice that has formed.

Have no fear of plummeting temperatures preventing the dam from forming. The frigid temperatures will have little effect on the well insulated layer of melting snow, if there is enough snow accumulation. (To date, we have received 5 & 1/2 feet of snow; this is an ample blanket of insulation.) The lowest layer of snow will continue to melt and collect in a frigid pond, until it has no where else to go but inside your house. At last.

If you’re interested in avoiding the above scenario, check out step-by-step instructions from This Old House.

Patrick did his best to prevent a dam at our house. Jasper was clearly bewildered. So far, fingers crossed, we have avoided the plague striking the northeast. I hope that you all are as lucky!!


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