This winter in Connecticut has been mild so far, but the last several have been humdingers. We had no sooner bought our old farmhouse in September 2008 than an early December storm dumped huge amounts of snow which promptly started melting the next day then refroze in the gutters. Next thing I know I'm watching water drip around the beams inside the house! I've tried everything from raking snow off the roof as far as I can reach, to pouring hot water onto the ice to laying stocking full of ice melt in the gutters. The only real solution seems to be not to let ice dams form in the first place. What are solutions that others have come up with?

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Franz - if the attic floor is well insulated and then the soffets well ventilated, shouldn't that keep the roof cold enough for the snow blanket to stay?

My attic floor has fiberglass kind of thrown down randomly along with some old rugs thrown on top of it - and mice and squirrels have tunneled though it. It will be a big and disgusting job to clean it all out and re-insulate but it has to be done.

Besides the insulation and ventilation, you need to keep warm air from the interior of the house from reaching the attic space. Seal holes and penetrations in the attic floor, duct work,chimney chases,recessed lights etc.

Even then forces beyond your control such as the roof structure and solar heat gain can keep the attic space just warm enough to melt the snow and then it freezes at the cold roof eave.

Jim in my experience. including the mouse tunnels, removing old fiberglass rarely gains anything,  The rug situation is beyond my experience base.  They might be helping or they might not.

The amount of electricity even a window fan uses is cheap.  I'd put a fan or 2 in the attic and see if it helps.

well mainly I want to clean it out because its just so nasty and there are a lot of air gaps. This stuff dates to the 50s and the attic was heavily used for storage so it full of debris, trash, and even roofing debris from when the shingles were replaced. I'm also eager to dig down in the plaster ceilings for artifacts! In my former house I found all kinds of cool stuff hidden in corners of the attic.

Understandable.  I've spent a bit of time employing a metal detector inside of more than 1 house.  I really need to stop hanging around with estate attorneys though to eliminate that fun.  It can be a lot of fun though figuring out the why of where people hid things.  The most challenging have been people who lived in occupied Europe during the Second World War.  They knew how to stash things.

One caution I will give though, if you're dealing with anything mouse in an area where Hanta Virus has been found use extreme care and make certain you have sufficient ventilation.

We prevent ice dams here (upstate NY) by leaving our attic windows wide open all winter.  Did the same in MA in a 1730 colonial. Most roofs here are built at an angle to support the snow and quite a bit will slide off with melt (even with an asphalt roof) 

The south side of our house does heat more quickly and dumps a lot of melt onto a rather flat porch. That porch and gutter needs frequent shoveling during the winter months. Shoveling the roof is pretty normal here, it snows so much here that my dad has a snowblower for the roof!

North or South of I 90?

Upstate seems to be such an ambiguous term, especially when City dwellers toss it around.

North of the thruway. Oswego to be exact (same city as PStewart)


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