I just moved into a new house in IA. We had our first bad ice storm
of the year, and one section of my gutters froze up and some water
backed up into the house.
Would gutter covers fix this problem, or should I install a heating
element in the gutter?
I understand ice damming is the issue. There is much to read on this
What is an ice dam?
An ice dam is a ridge of ice that forms at the edge of a roof and prevents
melting snow (water) from draining off the roof. The water that backs up
behind the dam can leak into a home and cause damage to walls, ceilings,
insulation, and other areas. See the following link:
There are solutions. Read on. Good luck. Peace.
I don't think it is an ice dam. An Ice dam looks like there would be
ice completely covering the end of the roof and gutter. The problem I
have is near freezing water flowing down the roof and slush buildup in
the gutter itself, which is preventing water to flow to the downspout.
I doubt it's a ice dam also...you wouldn't get an ice dam from a
single ice storm. You need substantial snow on the roof that melts
near the eaves and freezes once it gets in the gutters.
Have you checked the gutters for debris? (first guess) Or for the
proper drainage angle? (long shot)
Covers *might* prevent debris from blocking the gutters but you have
to find out if that's the problem first. Ice melt wires could
help...they prevent ice dams at my house. We'll, actually, they
prevent *major* ice dams. I still get some icicles which indicates
damming, but haven't had water in the house since I put them up.
However, since we don't think you have ice dams at this point, they
still might prevent the gutters from freezing up.
On the other hand...ice storms are a strange animal and can cause
symptoms that might not happen under "normal" winter conditions. Is IA
subject to a lot of ice storms? If so, you certainly should determine
the root cause of the probelm and get it taken care of.
problem is the lack of insulation in the attic / roof. heat from the
house is melting the snow , then it refreezes in gutter. add
insulation, then when the outside is above freezing it all melts
On Sat, 1 Dec 2007 15:09:46 -0800 (PST), lagman
> problem is the lack of insulation in the attic / roof. heat from the
> house is melting the snow , then it refreezes in gutter. add
> insulation, then when the outside is above freezing it all melts
His problem, from the OP's own words, sound like it is a result of
clogged gutters, not lack of insulation.
I sympathize, Dan.
I'm in the same ice storm and understand what you're saying about the
gutters. I don't think it was preventable. It's no ordinary ice dam and
I doubt it's preventable by the usual ways you'd prevent an ice dam,
i.e., more insulation and ventilation in the attic.
Also, I can't see how gutter covers would prevent it -- in fact, it
seems to me that they may make the problem (water backing up-roof under
the shingles) more likely to occur. They'd be just one more obstruction
to the water draining.
Maybe a heating element would help but . . . I really believe, in this
kind of storm, if you have gutters they're going to get clogged with the
quantity of freezing sludge we got and water will tend to back up under
About the only thing you can do is be sure the next time you have your
roof done that ice and water shield (there are many brands, original was
"Grace Ice & Water Shield") is put on the roof decking at the eaves and
valleys. It comes in 3ft wide rolls and should be applied so that it
covers the roof decking at least 2 ft up-roof from where the house wall
meets the roof.
That's just my 2 cents; I know it doesn't help much with your current
Good luck, Dan. This really is pretty unusual for Iowa.
Don't do anything (at least not until spring), it will warm up tomorrow
and probably will not happen again for a year or two. I am in SE Iowa
and it is already up to 40 degrees F at 9:00 PM. Sure was a mess earlier
and it was the first day of deer season. :-(
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