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 Post subject: Serious Ice Problems
PostPosted: Tue Feb 16, 2010 7:44 pm 
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Joined: Tue Feb 12, 2008 4:45 pm
Posts: 111
Location: Pittsburgh, PA
We are having some serious ice problems in both the rental and our own house:

- Water is dripping from the top of the inside of the window in the bedroom

- Water appears to only be coming in directly over the window, cooling
the wall up to the point that the window flashing stops

- The ice dams are probably causing water to run down the walls, and they
are running into a breach (possibly caused by ice) on the top of the window flashing

- All the gutters are overflowing with ice and icicles

- Water is flowing down the side of the houses forming ice sheets and

Surely everyone else is having similar problems due to the snowpocalypse? Has
anyone found effective solutions? Aside from the drip, what's the worst case
scenario with the ice dams? Any advice on the situation would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you in advance,

 Post subject: Re: Serious Ice Problems
PostPosted: Sun Feb 21, 2010 7:23 pm 

Joined: Fri Jan 29, 2010 7:17 pm
Posts: 4
Location: Pittsburgh/Oakland
I'm having the same problem. I just had the seeping water soak the drywall over the bathtub in one apartment causing the ceiling section to come down. The brick wall was visible in the hole and had water visibly seeping through from outside where the ice was accumulating on the exterior. In my case, I know I have gutter problems. The downspouts MUST be clogged based on the ice formations. And some of the gutters are not dumping directly into the downspouts resulting in ice on the side of the building near the roof and all of the way down.

I have cut down on some of the seepage by melting the ice using LOTS of rock salt or ice-melter into the roof gutters right above the downspouts. The melting carries the salt down the downspout and further melts. This helped in the areas where I could open a window and get to the gutters. I need to find someone to repair the gutters and clean the downspouts.

I found that Home Depot online sells spray-on de-icer. It didn't arrive yet, but I will try it and report back if the situation arises.

I am still looking for better solutions too.

 Post subject: Re: Serious Ice Problems
PostPosted: Sun Feb 21, 2010 9:21 pm 
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Joined: Tue Feb 12, 2008 4:45 pm
Posts: 111
Location: Pittsburgh, PA

Thanks for sharing what you're doing to solve the problem.

We googled around for a solution and found something that seems
to be helping our ice dam problems. Here are the directions, courtesy of Daniel, my partner:

How to make and use a home made ice melt sock:

Ice melt socks allow you to melt channels in ice dams that form in
your gutters, they are particularly useful when getting on or to
the roof is made excessively dangerous due to ice build up.

The basic concept is that a big block of ice melt placed across the
gutter will cause the ice to melt below it, and create a drainage
channel for any water that backs up behind the ice, thereby reducing
the risk of water back-flowing through your roof.

It is suggested that in situations with very bad ice build up that
you place one sock every 10ft.

You will need:

- some cheap socks, at least 60% nylon or polyester, as they need
to stand up to some serious abuse. Men's tube socks work well.

- some rope, cheap dollar store rope is fine, it does not have to
be strong, but it should be at least 10ft longer than the distance
from your gutter to the ground.

- CALCIUM ICE MELT --- DO NOT USE SALT, salt will eat your gutters

- basic sewing supplies.

Step 1:
Cut a piece of rope, slightly longer than the diameter of
the top of your sock, while fully stretched. Tie a figure-8
knot with the ends creating a loop that will become the cinch
cord for the sock. sew the loop into the opening of the sock
as you would a pull cord on a sack, by folding the top of
the sock over the cord, and sewing the sock to itself around
the cord. Make sure the keep the sock stretched while sewing

Step 2:
Take the calcium ice melt and fill the sock. The sock will
stretch, so once it seems full, grab it by the open end
and swing it around a few times like a sling, this will
force the sock to stretch, as it will when you throw it,
then top it off again, and pull the cord tight.

Step 3:
Take the length of rope longer than the height of your
gutter, and tie it to the cord at the opening of the
sock. Use a good knot, a bowline which is run through the
cord, and around the sock makes for a very secure pull line.

Step 4:
Grab the sock by the pull cord, swing it like a sling in
an underhand motion. It takes a little getting used to,
but throwing the sock onto a 2-3 story roof is easily done
with a little practice.

Step 5:
Now that the sock is on the roof it needs to be pulled across
the gutter so that it can melt where we need it. Grab the
rope and pull it steadily until you can see the tied end
of the sock pocking out over the ice. Slowly pull until
you see 6in of the sock hanging over the side of the ice.

Step 6:
Wait- Depending on the temperature, the sun, snow and rain
the sock will melt through the ice in anything from 30min
to 4hr.

I also spoke with Mark Fichtner from Penn Pioneer about the problem, before he had a chance to reply to my post. Here are some suggestions from Mark:

1. Get as much snow off the roof as possible; you can use an extended painters stick, broom, etc.
2. If you can get to the gutters, try to break up the ice with an ice pick, hammer, etc.
3. If it becomes a serious problem, you could rip off the gutter
4. To prevent this problem in the future, insulate the attic and seal off vent pipes

Thank you Mark!

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