Relative Something

*this* John W. Hays' take on things and experiences

Posts Tagged ‘preventing ice dams

Not Bad

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Even though the cold is extreme, it is not impossible to be outside enjoying the crispness of the elements. Yesterday, after giving Delilah an abbreviated opportunity to have an extra loop from the barn past the labyrinth, which gave her one last chance to pee before heading in, I spent a little extra time outside doing some clean up of the snow I pulled off the roof the day before.

The bright sunshine was providing enough energy against the shingles to evaporate some of what remained after my raking. I took a picture to see if I could capture the steamy clouds wafting up off the roof, but mostly it highlighted the smoke coming out of the chimney from the cozy fire in our fireplace.

I wandered over to the wood splitter to see how some of the stringy specimens responded to the frigid temperature. As expected, the efficiency of my treasured splitter was nicely enhanced and I quickly dispatched several logs. Splitting wood wasn’t the main thing I wanted to work on, so I left more of that for another day. The cold weather is predicted to last long enough that I will have an opportunity to make greater headway on filling the woodshed next weekend.

My main objective was shoveling the snow that had come down off the roof the day before. It buried our backup generator and I want the vents kept clear so it can breathe for its weekly automatic 12-minute maintenance run each Wednesday. That pile of snow was as dense and firm as possible after setting overnight in the deep freeze. It would have been a cinch to dig a snow-cave into that mound, but my objective was to remove it, so the density was more of a hassle.

From the generator, I made my way around the house to the back deck. The two roof-valleys on the backside of our house hadn’t been cleared yet all winter, basically a neglectful mistake on my part. Since I don’t see them every day like I do the front, they fall into the “out-of-sight, out-of-mind” category. When I do think of them, my faulty logic figures the increased sun exposure of the southern orientation will help reduce the need for my added effort.

Boy, was I wrong. As I made my way around the house with the roof rake on Saturday, each valley I came to ended up having more snow and was more difficult to pull down. I now hope this lesson will inspire me to put in the effort to stay ahead of the game by cleaning all four valleys each time snow accumulates, just to prevent it from becoming exponentially more difficult when conditions eventually force the need to avert ice dam accumulation.

While I was out on the deck shoveling, twice I heard the loud SNAP of tree trunks cracking in the cold. Since it was far from the coldest point of the 24-hour cycle of a temperature swing, it caused me to wonder if the sunshine on the dark bark contributed to some significant temperature variant that brought the stress beyond what it could handle.

It’s warm enough to melt snow on the shingles at 5-below and cold enough to grow ice formations on the facial hair of a warm-blooded human.

Harsh, but not really all that bad.

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Written by johnwhays

February 8, 2021 at 7:00 am

Productive Avalanche

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It occurs to me that a key reason I become excited enough about a product to proselytize to others about its features is when my initial disbelief is dashed by a performance that actually meets what was advertised. When I first saw roof rakes for removing snow by the use of a plastic sheet, I figured theory wouldn’t be able to live up to the challenges of reality.

I’ve raked a lot of snow off a fair number of roofs. Conditions are rarely ideal. I doubted the advertised ease of sliding the snow down on a plastic sheet. Oh my, it comes down so well I was almost knocked down by it.

When we were replacing boards on our deck a few months ago, I discovered a disconcerting amount of granules from our shingles on the ground below. It was enough to get me to take a chance on trying out this different technique.

Enter the Avalanche roof rake!

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From the clean and simple design, making it easy to assemble and use, to the speed and ease with which I brought down blocks of snow, the Avalanche roof rake has earned my highest praise. The only thing I can’t testify to after this first use is the longevity of that plastic sheet.

I abused it a fair amount in my attempts to navigate our angles and the existing icy edges. It folded and twisted multiple times, which experience tells me is potentially damaging.

Knowing our roof presented angles that would be problematic for the plastic sheet technique, I elected to order a second option, the Deluxe Rake head, which swaps out easily. This is basically the same as my old aluminum rake, but with the added feature of rollers that keep it from scraping directly on the granules of the asphalt shingles.

Yesterday’s first use proved to be an excellent test, as the condition of snow and ice on our roof was as bad as ever, due to the significant rainfall we suffered prior to an accumulation of snow at the end of November.

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If you look closely at the picture on the right above, it is possible to see there is a base layer of frozen snow beneath the deeper powder on top. It took the Deluxe head to break that up enough for me to pull it down. I also needed to use that head to drag the valleys between our two main roof surfaces.

The combination of the two options worked perfectly to accomplish the job well and did so with much less wear and tear on our shingles.

I got half of the roof done yesterday, and will be out today to finish the other side of the house. One thing I learned is that I should move the ladder farther back from the roof. While using the plastic sheet from where I was positioned yesterday, I got a face-full of snow shooting down at me in the worst way.

It’s a thrill to have so much snow coming down off the roof so quickly, but not all that great when it is hitting you right in the face.

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Written by johnwhays

December 15, 2019 at 11:05 am