Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Shovelling the Ice Jam Off the Roof

The kitchen roof, as I like to put it, is not steeply pitched enough for snow to slide off, but quite steeply pitched enough for me to slide off. Therein lies a delicate balance.

Icicles are beautiful, but dangerous, and they are indicators that ceiling damage is about to ensue. My first year in the house, the brand new ceiling in the sunporch leaked and buckled. I researched the problem and discovered why ice jams form and how to handle them. I have kept any more damage from occurring simply by shovelling the last foot or so on the roof after each storm so that melting water can roll off and not get stuck pooling behind the edge and seeping down and in. I have to climb out the window of the kids' bedroom, so I keep an ice chopper and a 40 lb bucket of calcium chloride next to the bed. Doesn't everyone?

Bear in mind we had a huge ice storm followed by a 9 inch snow. It was just too slick to go out after the ice storm. Having the 9 inch snow directly after made it possible, but I had to keep in mind that 3 inches of ice were under that snow at each step.
Over the back door, there was enough melt to clear a whole section of roof, to the left. The furthest end to the right was the slickest and thickest ice, so I salted it well yesterday, just before being called to work an emergency half-shift. Today I was able to chop only about 4-6 inches on that end. I just can't get close enough to the edge to put power into the chop. I salted well, though-it's all I can do.
See how thick that ice is under the snow? I can't afford a skid- the nine foot high snowpile beneath is SOLID!
Cujo likes to supervise from the bed.
Sorcha likes to come right out with me and inspect my work. She sometimes perches on the peak while I work.
But today she just curled up in the sun on the dark asphalt shingles.
When I was done, I wiped out all the icicles from below and shovelled out the steps and salted some more. Just in time for another storm tomorrow. Right now I am finishing my cuppa tea and dreaming about the changes I'd like to make to the house. I'd like to add a room above the kitchen, so the roof is pitched steeply enough that I no longer need to shovel. Replace the bathrooms and open up the kitchen so the space is more usable. Add better storage. Maybe a deck. Pave the driveway. Insulate & replace the windows. A dream for another day.


Keri said...

Couple of our neighbors have these extender-poles attached to what looks like a really large ice scrapper. They stand on the ground, extend the pole and then pull the snow off their roof. One of them has a different attachment that he uses to clean out the gutter. Both of them got them at Home Depot. Might be worth looking into so that you don't have to risk your neck shoveling off your roof!

Anfa said...

I've seen them, & Bren keeps telling me to get one, but since all the snow from the drive is piled below, I wouldn't be able to get at it safely from below either.

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