Mar 17, 2011

Ice Dams?

If you are a snow lover, this was a good year for snow .We had a lot of snow this year in Minnesota; actually, all across the USA EVERYONE got an unusual amount of snow. I remember one news cast said that “Today EVERY state in the USA (49) had snow except for Florida.” Some storms dumped 17 to 24 inches of snow in 24 hours; some areas of the USA had even greater snow amounts in the same time period. If you are a snow lover, this was a good year for snow! (see below for "Snowman" Video)

One of the problems with getting as much snow as we all did is the possibility of ice building up on the roof of your house and forming an “ice dam”; a growing heap of ice that blocks the path of the melted snow. When snow accumulates on a roof, a cycle of melting and refreezing occurs. In a perfect world, the snow would melt off the roof, enter the gutters, and flow harmlessly to the ground. The warmer your attic is, the more melt off that occurs at the roof surface. Under certain conditions, though, when air temperature is very low, the water refreezes at the edge of the roof, where the interior roof surface is not being warmed by the attic. 

Once this dam forms to a certain height, the melted snow that pools up behind it can suddenly leak back under the roof shingles and into your home! The thing with ice dams is that you need to deal with them immediately. Don’t let the snow pile up on your roof! For me this meant that on three different occasions I had to borrow my brother-in-law Bill’s 28 foot ladder and snow rake to remove 2-3 foot piles of snow on my roof (three stories off the ground).

The third floor of my 1912 house doesn’t have the proper insulation. My girls who used to have their bedrooms up there tell me that it was always “too cold”. I told them (like any good dad would); “If you’re cold grab a sweater”. So the possibility of snow forming ice dams is very real; we’ve had them twenty years ago. The average roof in St. Paul costs around $1,800 to $2,400 for ice dam removal; to say nothing of the cost to repair the interior damage caused by the water intrusion.

How can ice dams be prevented in the first place? The short term is to remove and keep the snow off the roof; as soon as you can after the snow has built up on the roof. The longer-term answer is by having proper insulation and ventilation. 

These are simple solutions, yet in our neighborhood, I saw that almost every house had ice dams. Partially it was because we all live in very tall, older homes from the early 1900’s that have steep roofs and partially it is because it is expensive to deal with it - the going rate to remove snow and ice from a roof is $300 per hour. 

And, I think that some people have the notion that if you ignore it long enough, it will eventually go away. Simply put, homeowners could prevent unnecessary water intrusion and costly repairs if they would deal with the problem immediately, instead of waiting for further damage to be done on the inside of their homes.

Kind of reminds me of how some people deal with sin. Similar to ice dams, we need to deal with it immediately. Don’t let it pile up! Simply put, you and I could prevent unnecessary intrusion and costly repairs if we would deal with the sin problem immediately, instead of waiting for further damage to be done.

Acts 3:19 says; “Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord”

James 5:16 says; “Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.”

1 John 1:9 says; “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

Isaiah 1:18 says; “Come now, and let us reason together,” Says the LORD, “ Though your sins are like scarlet, They shall be as white as snow; Though they are red like crimson, They shall be as wool.”

Go to God and deal with the sin in your life before it causes a more serious damn in your life, and the life of those around you.  “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 6:23)

A video to say "goodbye" to the snow