Sunday, February 15, 2015

Ice Dams (again)

We are currently under another snow emergency here in Massachusetts.  As I type, there is yet another blizzard occurring outside my window and we are getting another 18 inches of snow.  I've lost count about how many inches total that is, but it's somewhere in the vicinity of six feet.

SIX FEET PEOPLE!!!  And not even an inch of that has melted between storms.

Five years ago, we had a similar winter and it was during the fourth snow emergency that the ice dams appeared and gallons of water started pouring through our ceilings and light fixtures.  It took almost a year to restore the house - we had to have many ceilings redone, large sections of hardwood floors were damaged and had to be replaced, we had insulation blown into our attic and heated panels added to our roof.  It was a long and stressful process but well worth the hassle since our house remained water-tight....

until this year.  

It's not really our house's fault - everyone in our town is getting water in their house.  There's only so much a roof can hold and six feet of snow is was more than even a usually-weather-tight house can control.

Here is Josie pointing out the stripe of water on our dining room ceiling:

We've removed all the art from the walls and covered the furniture with tarps and plastic table cloths.  We're allowing the water to just drip into our mudroom because there's not much we need to protect in there.  As for the water dripping through the walls of our bedroom and bathroom, so far it's just a terrible noise and not puddles we can see, so we will wait until it becomes so.  

As I've said, we aren't the only ones with ice dams this time.  We've taken many calls / texts from friends asking us for advice to deal with the water pouring into their houses.  We are working with an architect for the construction project on our Block Island house and she had to cancel a meeting last week because "buckets" of water were pouring through the bay window in her living room.  Another friend called in a panic to see what we thought she should be doing to stem the flow of water that began in her house that morning (sadly, there is nothing you can do until the weather improves).  

Gordy says that ice dams and water leaks are the main topic of discussion at work.  Everyone is stunned by how much snow we've had and what a crazy winter this has been.

We hired a handyman to come and chip away at the four really bad ice dams we have at our house.  He spent about four hours and did a really great job.  And then it snowed the next day and the temperature dropped again and now they are back.

We are really, really hoping that we don't get as terrible water damage as we did last time, but we are trying to be proactive.  And while you hate to expect the worst, in this case, perhaps it's better to be over-prepared than under.

It's hard to properly describe how horrible all this snow really is.  We've been stuck inside for weeks and are going stir-crazy.  All these snow days mean an extra week of school in June and a shorter summer.  Shoveling and plowing is incredibly hard since you have to toss each shovel-full of snow up and over a six foot pile of snow on either side of the walkway or driveway.  The city can't keep up with all the snow either.  The plows are out but with nowhere to put the snow, the roads just keep getting narrower and narrower.  There is literally no where to park in downtown Winchester.  Picking up the girls from school in the car is almost impossible.  None of the side streets have room to pull over and since the schools are in the middle of town and there's no school parking lot or driveway, no one knows where to go to get their kids.  It's pandemonium.  Driving in general is a hazard.  The snow drifts are so high on either side of an intersection, that you have to creep out of a street slowly and blindly to see if it's okay to pull out all the way.  Accidents are happening left and right.  Gordy and Josie saw some poor elderly man get hit by a car yesterday (he was alright) because the driver couldn't see him coming out of the snow.  

It's not just our town, either.  I was in Boston for a doctor's appointment on Thursday and I couldn't believe how narrow and snow-filled the city streets were, too.  I expect it to be crazy in our little town, but I would have thought that Boston would be doing a better job clearing the snow.  

We need some sun and warmer temperatures!  If you have any extra, please send it too us quickly!


Laura said...

I'm in Massachusetts too. No water damage to our place, but I do feel your pain. I've been trying so hard to keep myself and my 5 year old busy during all of these snow days. At least it's Winter Break now, right?

Martha said...

Laura - first of all, thank you so much for leaving a comment! This has been the craziest winter and we are all going stir-crazy. I agree that winter break makes it easier to deal with. At least when the next snow storm hits (I've heard that's Wednesday) we won't be missing school. I hope you stay dry! Our dining room water mark increased three-fold today which doesn't bode well for us. I just keep thinking about the Florida vacation that Henry and I are taking in March. We just have to make it until then! Thanks for stopping by. -Martha

Sean G said...

Sounds horrible! Stay safe and I hope warmer weather comes soon!

Guymons said...

so much snow....sorry!!!! hope your house survives!

Martha said...

thanks, Sean. It is horrible! And now the stain is three times as wide and six times as long. Argh!

Martha said...

Thank, Diane - I hope so too!

Nathan Riley said...

Similar to weatherizing automobiles and trucks for the winter, homes must go under rigorous preparations for serious cold weather. One tip was found to be helpful. is making sure that all aspects of the weatherizing process is as comprehensive as possible. This includes integrating local building codes to make sure that the home is ready for the heaviest snow falls.

Nathan Riley @ Steemer Atlanta

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