Removing Icicles and Ice Dams- Part Two of the Saga

My colleague, realtor Greig Reynolds, came over on Saturday to help me to remove the snow and ice from my sunroom roof. It was a gorgeous day: bright blue sky, very cold. By then, I’d discovered that the roof rake I’d borrowed from my neighbours (which looks a bit like a long-handled, wide garden hoe) was of limited use. The snow was simply too compacted, too dense. So Greig climbed up the ladder and took the snow off using a metal-edged snow shovel.

The shocker was the 100 pound-plus piece of ice that had built up between the sunroom and the exterior wall of the main part of the house, which we couldn’t even see until the snow came off.  It broke free while Greig  was shovelling, and he struggled to push it off the roof. (The entire house shook when it fell down. I can now see how moving a dead body, which I sometimes write about in my mystery novels, would be a lot tougher than you might think.)

The calcium chloride tablets I had purchased at Canadian Tire (RoofMelt) turned out to be disappointing. These are puck-shaped and you are told to throw them on the roof where they are supposed to melt and burn through ice dams. In a package of 60, only about a dozen weren’t already broken; the others were dust. 

Since I throw like a girl, I had a hard time getting them up to Greig, and ended up losing quite a few. But even though he lined up most of the ones he did catch along the ice dams, they had no effect at all. That ice dam is now almost 8″ thick and runs the entire length of the eavestroughing all around the house, top and bottom about a foot-and-a-half back. I’ve never seen anything like it.

Not surprisingly, Greig wasn’t all that comfortable at the idea of trying to get ice off the roof on the second storey, so we left it at that.  “You should be okay as long as we don’t get any big snowfalls or freezing rain,” he said as he left. And the very next morning, we had another major snowfall and–needless to say– more freezing rain.

So I called my go-to guy, tradesman Cedric Poon, who came by this morning . He had his thermal camera with him and showed me from inside the house where insulation was missing and how the ice had formed in the first place.  

We’ve agreed that we need to blow in some insulation into the attic and that it would probably be a good idea to do the same in the sunroom. Since there’s no access to the sunroom roof, that means cutting a hole in the ceiling big enough for someone to crawl through. This involves running a 3″ hose into the house from outside, as well, so it will have to wait for warmer weather.

We’d like to test out running a heating wire along the eavestroughs to prevent ice from building up, but all that ice has to come off first. These come in different lengths, so I need to figure out how much we need, and then they have to be special ordered through Home Hardware. (It takes about four days to get them in.)

Cedric suggested digging a couple of trenches (he has a blow torch and an axe in mind) so that melting water can escape while we figure out how to get rid of all that ice. And while he’s happy to try his hand at the sunroom roof,  he isn’t keen on climbing up on the second storey either. Unfortunately, the problem on the second storey is as bad as it is in the sunroom.

So we agreed I should to contact the pros and see what they recommend.  They’re backed up with calls (I couldn’t even get through to Sanderson Roofing.) Lauzon Roofing will be by tomorrow at 9:30 to tell me what I’m in for. I’ll keep you posted.

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