Thursday, April 9, 2009

Ice dams, roof rakes, and Spring money-saving tips

As I've mentioned in previous posts, ice dams have plagued the gutters and downspouts on the north side of my old home.

Alleviating this problem requires a couple of different strategies, and some less-than-desirable work. First, I purchased a roof rake last winter to keep as much snow off the north roof as possible. Essentially, my roof rack is a 24-foot aluminum pole (in four parts) with an aluminum rake on the end which lets you drag snow off your roof. If you haven't guessed yet, the less-than-desirable work includes standing on the ground as you're pulling snow toward yourself. As the saying goes, “what goes up, must come down,” and when it's an avalanche of snow coming your way, it can be a cold, unpleasant experience. Oh the things I'll do to protect this old Cape Cod! Fortunately, the north side of my house is also the back of my home, so no one can see me dressed in full ski gear to perform this task (yes, including ski goggles!). But don't fret; practice makes perfect and you eventually learn how to properly control cascading snow.

In addition to the roof rake, I had also purchased heated cables expressly designed to prevent ice dams in home gutters. Basically, the low-voltage cables produce just enough heat to melt snow. When they're strung properly just above your gutters (with special clips that attach to roof shingles), the snow melts and won't accumulate into ice with changes in temperature. By keeping the roof relatively clean with the roof rake and using the ice dam cables, you can prevent ice dams and hug icicles that can cause significant damage to a home.

So, why am I bringing this up in the Spring instead of before winter and what exactly are the money-saving tips I mentioned? Well, for starters, I was proud of myself for taking the time to install the ice dam heating cabs last Fall prior to the onset of snow. I was also proud of myself for remembering to unplug the ice dam cables once the threat of snow had passed. That's money saving tip number one.

My next money saving tip is to look for a roof rake and ice dam cables now – in the off season – when retailers are likely to be reducing inventory. You might save yourself some money, and better yet, you'll be prepared for next winter!

20 comments:

  1. Nice blog. thanks for all the info.

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  3. Thanks for the post, this is really very informative, actually i am going to repair my RV roofs and looking for some information, i dont have much information about that but after reading your post i am pretty much sure now i can suggest better services for my house, thanks dude and keep it up, i will definitely try these ideas and will let you know about the results.

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  4. its really a way to save money, thanks dude, hope we will see more new ideas soon.

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  5. Mini-blinds have replaced the old-fashioned Venetian blinds as more convenient and attractive window treatments.

    I have been reading your blog last couple of weeks and enjoy every bit. Thanks

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  6. I agree with your idea, but the "heated cables" are sucking electricity from your home constantly when in use, so that would be costing you extra money. A roof rake is the way to go, but I think you are using the wrong kind. Check out www.avalanche-snow.com. They have a rake with a plastic slide material. You stand on the ground a push up, so then the snow comes of in chunks and won't hit you on the way down. It is better to stay off your roof entirely during the winter and you are not wasting electricity (money).

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  7. We have snow fall only in some regions of our country but I can say that its good sight to see the snow fall but its one of the major problem also. Lot of problems are raised due to the snow fall. Thanks for sharing the useful information with us.

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  8. Ice Dams always creates the problem when there is a heavy snow, But I hope your post will help the lot of people suffering from the Ice Dams. Thanks for sharing with us.

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  9. Thanks for the information that to have shared...only those who are into such things can understand how very beneficial tips these are,budget is a very important part of the project always.

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  10. Hello. Thank you for this great info! Keep up the good job!

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  11. Ice dams are one of the big problem we need to suffer from in the winter season. It is true that there should be some proper way to remove these ice dams, else more you will face the problem regarding roof leaks.

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  12. Excellent Article!! I like the idea of heated cables and roof rakes to remove the snow from the roof. Also, for preventive measures we install Ice and water Shield underneath the roof shingles 30" up from the gutter and overlap and fasten to the wood fascia behind the gutter.

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  13. I also face the problem of snow fall in my house because of roof. I appreciate for your guideline like heated cables, ice dams etc. Thanks for this money saving tips.

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  14. Thanks for posting, this is really what we all need to know, i am sure your post will work for all of us.

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  15. I always heard that clean gutters can prevent large icicles and ice dams.

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  16. I put heating cables in my gutters last year and they work great!

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  17. I have it even worse as my roof is flat! Thanks for money saving tips

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  18. Greetings, this is a genuinely absorbing web blog and I have cherished studying many of the content and posts contained on the internet site, continue the outstanding work and need to read a good deal more stimulating articles in the future.

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  19. The best way to prevent ice dams is to insulate the roof (or attic floor) so the heat from inside the home doesn't melt the snow -- which re-freezes at night, creating the ice dam. In cold climates, roofs or attics should be insulated to a level of at least R40 and have a vapor barrier installed.

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  20. Interesting, I would be interested in knowing the cost efficiency of the improvments you made to prevent ice dams. Any idea of how much your energy bill went up? (rough estimate is fine)
    ?

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