Snow accumulation causing ice concerns

Journal Pioneer staff
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Ice build up in eavestroughs and along eaves causes concerns

SUMMERSIDE  – With the unusual amount of snow this December, accumulation on roofs is common and has lead to evident ice build up in eavestroughs.

After clipping off the line of icicles dangling from his porch eavestrough, Ted Cross begins to rake away the snow that accumulated while he was on a Christmas visit to Vancouver Island.

The simple weight of snow and ice can be a problem in some cases, while melting can extend damage to the inside of the house.

John Nangreaves, of Central Bedeque, was out on Saturday afternoon clearing snow from his deck, though he has been attacking large icicles hanging from his eavestroughs for several days.

Water has been infiltrating around his patio doors, possibly dripping from under the soffit and inside the siding he presumes. It hasn’t caused any evident damage at this point, but he is concerned that the leakage is occurring.

“I’m very concerned that if ice starts to shift, it’s all going to come down… and take the soffit with it,” he said.

The problem is most evident along the upstairs eave crawl spaces and back porch that are part of his 1.5-storey home, which is more than a century old. Insulation just wasn’t a big priority when the house was built, and Nangreaves hasn’t owned the house long enough to accomplish all the upgrades he might like to do.

Ted and Rosalind Cross returned to their Summerside home, after a Christmas trip to British Columbia, to find a similar situation on their porch.

“It is the first time in a couple of years,” that it has dammed up, Ted said as he prepared to destroy the icicles and rake the snow from the low-slope roof.

The only thing that seems to work is to get it off as soon as the snow stops. Ted Cross, home owner

“We tried the heating wires; that didn’t work. Someone advised us to use salt; that didn’t work. Someone told us to take the eavestrough off, so we did; that didn’t work,” the Crosses related.

“The only thing that seems to work is to get it off as soon as the snow stops,” Ted remarked, knowing that his vacation time allowed the snow to harden and make his task more difficult.

Todd MacPhee, who has more than 15 years experience installing seamless aluminum eavestrough, couldn’t really offer any advice that the Crosses haven’t already tried.

He acknowledged that heat loss is a prime factor with snow melt problems, especially in older homes as compared to more modern units, but also reminded that weather conditions and sunshine on shingles create melting events as well. He recommends caution when working on roof ice and snow, to avoid accidentally damaging eavestroughs.

How well eavestroughs hold up can be factored on how well fastened they are and what they are fastened to, MacPhee advised. Sometimes, he concluded, it is better to leave the eavestrough alone as the ice, even built up, holds everything together.

Geographic location: Central Bedeque, Summerside, British Columbia

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