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5 Ways to Deal with Water Leaks Caused by Ice Dams

Prevent water leaks caused by ice damsLet’s get one thing straight right away – if an ice dam on your roof is causing your ceiling to leak, there’s no way to stop the leaking without having the ice dam removed.

But if you want to control the leaking as much as possible and minimize the harmful effects, here are a few tips (some of which you probably know already, some of which maybe you haven’t thought of):

1.  Set down some towels.  Big bath towels or beach towels are ideal.  Try to change them every now and then, so that they’re not sopping wet and unable to absorb more water.  If you don’t have fresh towels on hand, wring out the wet ones and put them back into action.

2.  If water is dripping onto a specific area, set out some buckets to collect it.

3.  Set up FANS.  Lots of fans.  If you own one, it’ll help.  If you own ten, haul them upstairs and get them churning air.  This doesn’t even occur to most people, but fans are an enormous help because they evaporate the water quickly.

4.  Turn the heat down as much as possible.  I’m not going to pull a Jimmy Carter on you and tell you to turn the heat down until you’re shivering and scampering for the nearest sweater.  However, the whole reason your roof is leaking is because heat has built up in your attic and melted the snow and ice atop your roof.  Less heat means less melting, and less melting means less leaking.  If the thermostat is set to 75, maybe turn it down to 70.  65 is even better.  60 is better still.  You get the idea.

5.  If you see soggy-looking sheetrock, poke or drill a small hole in it and put a bucket underneath the leak.  Use a drill bit, a nail or an awl, or some sort of sharp skewer-like metal poker that’s about 1/8 inch in diameter.  Poking an object through wet sheetrock should be extremely easy and won’t require any brute force.

By the way, DO NOT bring space heaters into the wet area where there’s leaking.  They won’t really help evaporate the water (not enough heat).  Plus, hot electrical coils and water don’t mix.

To a safe, toasty, bone-dry, leak-free home!

Written by on November 25, 2011

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