Friday, February 20, 2015

bought myself a present

Yesterday I bought myself $200-worth of this:

because this:

 It's not the weight of the snow on the roof that drove my decision to clear it, though the weight is a real concern this year.

I fretted about it, but was prepared to tough it out
and trust that the century-old roof would hold up under the weight of the unusually heavy snowload.

No, this was the deciding factor:

Which soon became this:

Ice damming was causing trapped meltwater on the roof
to find its way down through the walls.
And with all that snow still on the roof,
the meltwater flow was just beginning.

I called the carpenter who worked on my porch to ask if he could recommend someone to clear my roof.
He offered to come and do the job himself.

He said of all the roofs he has ever shoveled,
my roof had the most massive ice dams
he has ever seen.

I was so proud.

(Not really.)

In case you are not familiar with ice dams,
they happen when the snow on a roof begins to melt, often because of warmth rising through the roof from the house beneath, but also when the weather warms up a tiny bit. That meltwater trickles down the slope, under the snow, and either makes it over the edge of the roof to become icicles or freezes into a ridge of ice parallel to the low edge of the roof. If conditions remain the same, the ice builds up into a solid wedge. Meltwater that becomes trapped behind it begins to seek an alternate downward route. Under shingles. Through walls.

Here's a good view of a dangerous thing: 

Ice dam under snow - see the wedge? 

Same dam, snow removed.

The carpenter worked hard for over two hours.
I was very happy to have him here,
and I was happier still when he got off the roof.
It's steeper than it looks.
In past years I've always cleaned the chimney myself,
and I've done other work on the roof from time to time.
But at no point in my life would I have cheerfully
gotten up on that roof with a snow shovel.

Money well spent.

Gosh, what a winter.