The Great Meltdown is Coming... Are You Ready?

Did you enjoy the beautiful weather in the northeast last Sunday? Abundant sunshine and downright balmy weather with temps in the mid 40s was a welcomed change! But if you heard the dripping run-off from melting snow, that might mean trouble if you haven't taken precautions against ice damming.

large ice sickles hanging off a roof

When accumulated snow on your roof begins to melt in warmer weather or from underlying heat of a warm attic, it begins to roll down the roof until it hits the frigid eaves, causing the water to freeze immediately. This creates icicles and ice backup - an ice dam. The melting water has nowhere to go, so it backs up to form a pool above the dam, eventually seeping into your shingles, walls and ceiling. Several years ago, ice damming resulted in well over $50,000 worth of damage to our home. You can protect yourself from this unwanted expense at a fraction of the cost! Here are a few remedies you might want to look into:

Ice Dam Remedies

a black wire zig-zagging along the base of the roof

1. Installing heat tape or heat cables in a zigzag pattern on the edges of your roof is one option that requires maintenance and can be an unsightly addition to your home. The estimated cost to do it yourself is between $250 and $400 or, if you hire it out, it may cost around $1,500.

2. A more polished looking, efficient (but costly) solution, is to install a Roof Ice Melt, (RIM) system, a series of metal plates that attach to the eaves with heating coils which allow for snow to melt thereby preventing ice dams. The RIM system, made by Bylin Engineered Systems, is effective but can run in the thousands of dollars to install. (My quote was over $7,000.)

3. I'm most excited to share an inexpensive and quicker alternative that I chose and implemented myself: cooling your attic space with soffit vents and a fan. To do this, I cut openings for vents along the soffits and installed an attic fan in the gable, which constantly pushes warm attic air outside, replacing it with cold air that flows in through the soffit vents.

a four inch circle cut in the roof eave for a soffit venta large aluminum fan on an attic wall

For information on how to install soffit vents, visit

Now, the snow won't melt because the attic remains cold. Amazingly, this method cost me about $250 and we haven't had any issues at all since installation. You can hire someone for this project; however, if you are a "DIYer" (Do It Yourselfer), you can avoid that additional cost!

The great meltdown is just around the corner, so now is the time to act so you don't suffer more consequences of ice damming.

Cool App Alert - Find Your Way with WAZE

I was thrilled to discover WAZE, described as "the world's largest community-based traffic and navigation app." WAZE blends the features of a navigation system with the appeal of a social network by allowing drivers to communicate and navigate in real-time to determine the best travel route. Purchased, by Google a few years ago, WAZE now uses the same mega mapping and tracking information that Google does, thus providing real time information.

You can use the app to passively navigate your route, or you can choose to play a more active role by reporting road and travel data yourself. You and your fellow WAZERS are all looking out for each other! And I've even witnessed "road hazards" or "speed trap" reports!

Some of the best features of WAZE are:

  • one of the best examples of crowdsourcing for public benefit - real time user traffic reports
  • provides the best route with the least traffic at that current time
  • gas station locator, including each station's per-gallon prices
  • a heads-up about construction, police presence, accidents and other hazards

WAZE connects drivers to one another, forming "local driving communities" that work together to create more positive travel experiences for everyone. Interested in learning more? Click on the video above!

Questions about how to take precautions in protecting your home from ice dams or just to chat about WAZE? Call me at 203-938-8400!