Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Winter Raking

You might think that if you live in the artic wilds of New England that winter would mean a hiatus from your outdoor home-maintenance duties.  But you would be wrong.  We may not have to rake leaves or prune flower beds, but there is plenty of work to be done outside of the home during the brutal New England winter. Especially if you have a house with a mansard roof like we do.

This has been a very snowy winter.  We barely finish one snow storm when the next one arrives and unfortunately, the extremely low temperatures mean that there's no opportunity for snow to melt before the next 8 inches of snow falls on top.  

The first winter that we lived in our house, we learned the hard way that our roof shape (along with lack of insulation in our attic) causes ice dams (click HERE, HERE, and HERE to read about those trying times) - which are not at all fun.  We installed insulation in the attic, gutter heaters in our gutters, and heated panels under the first few shingles on our roof, but we also bought a roof rake and we use it frequently after snow storms.

Gordy has more success with the roof rake then I do because he's taller than I am and can reach the top most roof:

I can only reach the mansard part of the roof, but trust me, that's better than nothing.  Last Saturday, we got almost a foot of snow - and that was on top of the foot that was already on the ground.  Bright and early on Sunday morning, Gordy plowed the driveway and began raking the snow off the roof.

If it's a cold day (and it always is here in February) and the sun is out, the snow on your roof will begin to melt.  Melting snow does not evapporate into the air, it turns into water which falls to the bottom of the snow pile and rolls down the roof shingles underneath the unmelted snow on top.  As that water reaches the edges of your roof, it often turns into back into ice.  The idea of the roof rake is to remove the snow from the last foot of your roof and your gutters, so that as the melting snow (water) comes down from under the snow on your roof, it is has room to run all the way into the gutters.  If instead it hits a wall of snow and ice, the water remains where it is, with the pressure of more and more melting water flowing behind it until that pressure gets so great that it escapes inside the house instead of outside where it can do no damage.  

I do not want water inside my house ever again and that is why, we bought a roof rake.

The roof rake is incredibly heavy and awkward, but it's worth the hassle for a little piece of mind.

Never in this California man's dreams did he EVER foresee that he'd be spending his Saturdays raking snow off his roof.

Or wearing a parka while he did it, for that matter.

The sun is out today, but it's 15 degree (F), so there's not much hope that the snow will be melting anytime soon.  At least we hope not... if the snow IS melting than it means that our attic insulation isn't doing it's job!  

Winter is a whole lot of work, isn't it?


Guymons said...

your house is SO beautiful. I had to look up that kind of roof...but now that I know what they are, I love them and want one....well, one that is not going to flood my house! I went back and read all the things that happened a few years ago. What a mess. Sorry all that happened! oh man!!!!

Guymons said...

I am thinking of blogging something (really want to)....but again, may get in trouble at work for it...so better not....haha.... but today, I had to go do yard duty with just a few minutes left of both the USA and the Canada games. I did not want to miss the ending of the Canada game (the USA pretty much had things under control)...so I took my laptop to Kindergarten Lunch. I let some of my little friends watch while they ate and showed them who to cheer for and we had a blast (only like 6 minutes) and Canada scored. I think I helped about 5-7 boys become hockey & canada fans today. I wonder if they will always remember that lunch time when that yard duty let them watch hockey and they cheered "can-a-da" "can-a-da"....haha

Martha said...

Thanks, Diane! We love our house - leaky roof and all! Mansard roofs are very New England which is strange since they are the most incredibly impractical shape for snow. You would think that in a place where it snows all winter long, they would have figured all this out by now!

Martha said...

That's adorable!! I like to hear of new California hockey fans. Gordy grew up in Northern California and he played hockey in his town and later for the state high school team. He was definitely in the minority!

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