I see icicles

Sunny days after a Colorado-winter storm are a mixed blessing.

Once the sun hits all that snow, the big melt is on and with the wrong kind of roof, poorly designed down spouts and useless gutters, I get the worst ice dams in the area

Ice dams form when gutters already filled with snow and ice begin to fill with even more melt that thaws, freezes and re-thaws. I would have fewer problems if the gutters drained out into the sunshine, but they are tucked, demurely under the deck. The result is beautiful but dangerous icicles and sometimes on taller structures in Conifer they can be up to 20 feet long. I’ve seen it myself.

The ones at the Bar B at thick, heavy and dangerous, about four feet long and one I knocked to the ground weighed about 10 pounds.

The problem with the dams is they ruin gutters and lead to leakage inside the house. I have no doubt that if the house didn’t have a new roof on it that I’d be in for major damage in the attic.

I listened to people and went with an asphalt shingle roof and for a house that doesn’t see sun from November to February, that kind of roof is a bad choice. I should have paid the extra money for a metal roof because the neighbors who have them are faring much better. Though they have icicles, the snow simply slides off the roof onto the ground below – no gutters needed. Just don’t be standing under the eaves when the snow comes down. It’s an impressive shower that makes an impressive noise.

The pattern I see is that the snow in the middle of the house’s roof is the culprit. Warmed by the sun and from the heat from the house and the furnace vents, the ice dams are almost a foot thick. I wonder if more insulation would help?

They do eventually go away and last year, they melted away by June.

The neighbors tell me I need to use heat tape along the gutters but the tape that’s up there must have been damaged by the roofers in 2010. Plug in the tape and nada.

Heat tape is a long rope of electrified rubber material that’s arched in geometrically exacting rows on the edge just above the gutter. Some less articulate loops on the house reach almost to the top of the roof on the south edge, but several of the clips used to hold the tape in place either broke or were lost and the tape hangs lazily, nudged across the asphalt tiles by the wind.

My neighbor said their electric bill almost doubles with the use of heat tape, so that option doesn’t seem appealing to me. I love my $50 electric bills and can’t see paying for something that doesn’t seem to work well in the first place.

Come spring (or summer, ha ha) the tape that’s up there needs to come down. The question is do I replace the heat tape or go with something else? I dunno.

A neighbor with a house located in a shady spot on Brooke Forest took the time to shovel snow from above the gutters and with weather he has no ice dams. I tried standing on a ladder with snow shovel in hand with the intention of clearing away the snow and all I got for my trouble were sleeves filled with snow and new hairdo.

Snow dams are another problem I need to have a solution for by the time next winter sets in.

Just another thing to add to the list. Ah, mountain living.

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