Ice Dams and Christmas Lights

November 14th, 2014

Front Porch Ice DamsI live in the Rocky Mountain West in a regular old neighborhood and NOT at a high altitude ski resort.  So remember that as you read this post.  it’s probably very similar to where you live.  You might be surprised that we, and you, might need roof snow retention. As I sit in front of my warm fireplace during the first cold snap of the year (feels like January in November!!!), I recall another cold time where I was very worried about an ice dam, but I’m getting ahead of myself.

Remember two years ago? In many locations it was bitter cold in January.  Sort of like it has been the last couple of days.  There was a dangerous condition that  happened that year and I’m worried it might happen again in my neighborhood or yours. In a valley, not a mountain ski resort.  At 4000 feet elevation, not 6500.  With less than a foot of snow on the roof.

We have a neighbor whom we’ll call her Mrs. Out-of-Site-Out-of-Mind.  She has two entrances to the front of her home.  The smaller side entrance (the one the kids use to enter the mud room), became a dangerous location that month in 2013.  The snow fell a few inches, the next day a few more inches.  Gradually it built up.  It was beautiful.  The kids loved it.  Snowmen, snow forts and snow fights galore.

But that same snow also loaded up the roof over this side entrance and since the dryer was always going (with gloves, scarves and hats) the vent from the dryer  warmed up that part of the roof, that snow melted and the water slid down into the gutter.  It dripped down where the little patio roof covered the entrance.  That’s what happened during the day.  At night and when temperatures dropped, which was often,  that melted water froze.  Day after day, that water froze until it became an ice dam.  Each day the whole ice dam slid just a little bit more out over that patio entrance.

Guess whose kids couldn’t come and go into the mudroom anymore?  Yep,  Mrs. Out-of-Site-Out-of-Mind’s.  The possibility that on a warm day those happy kids would slam a door and that whole messy ice dam would become a heavy deathtrap was a very real possibility.

I wish I had educated my neighbor better about how easily that dangerous condition could be avoided.  I’m hoping it doesn’t take another dangerous build-up of snow endangering her children to do some things to protect her kids.

It’s not too late.  TRA Snow and Sun routinely designs roof snow retention systems for homeowners like my Mrs. Out-of-Site-Out-of-Mind.  My estimate is that she will need less than 20 Snow Brackets and she and her husband can install them on their asphalt shingle roof the same day they put up their Christmas lights!  Assuming it’s warmer than today.  Or a licensed roofing contractor can do it for her.  All we need is her roof type, address and slope of her roof provided over the phone or via e-mail.

When you get your Christmas lights out, don’t be like Mrs. Out-of-Site-Out-of-Mind.  Fix that dangerous spot on your roof and enjoy all the coming snowmen, snow forts and snowball fights in safety!  (And stay warm!)