I grew up in California, so I'm not that familiar with snow and its effects. Plus, we haven't owned our house for that long. So after the two recent snowstorms, when I woke up this morning to water trickling down the family room walls, my first thought was there was something wrong with the pipes. My husband was in the shower upstairs, so I thought there might be a leak somehow from that. But no - he came downstairs, and the water got worse. I put out towels to mop it up and my husband got ready for work. When he stepped outside, he looked up - right into the jagged teeth of dozens of icicles hanging from the edge of the roof. He went off to work, and a little bit of research later, I found out about ice dams.
With the buildup of snow on top and hot air inside our roof, the ice at the peak of the roof melts and drips down, freezing at the colder edges of the roof, near the gutters. This results in huge blocks of ice hanging from the edge of the roof, behind which new water builds up, but is stopped from flowing straight down because of these blocks of ice damming up the liquid. Liquid that will find any opening and drip down. On the outside, this means icicles. On the inside, this means... flood. Like what I woke up to.
I ran across a really helpful website about short and long-term fixes to this problem by the University of Minnesota Extension program. If you, like me, find yourself with softly weeping walls, they have all sorts of drawings and facts about ice dams and how to prevent them - and fix them, after you got 'em.
I must say, I have learned an awful lot about things that go wrong when owning a home over the past several years. Usually through trial and error. Lots and lots of error, at least on my part, haha. But who knows? In twenty years, maybe I'll be an old pro at these things.
I am a freelance writer and poet with over sixty short pieces published in magazines and anthologies. When not writing, I review books for the ezine Bewildering Stories. If the Walking Dead isn't on, I draw pictures and do origami meditation in Connecticut, where I live with my husband and three children. If the Walking Dead is on... shhhh! The Walking Dead is on!