ice on house

Discussion in 'HVAC Heating & Cooling' started by Barry J, Jan 28, 2011.

  1. Barry J

    Barry J Member

    Messages:
    108
    Location:
    Mass
    I recently had my bathroom window taken out, cause it was in the shower, and leaking. Now it's a tub surround and wall. I know I have to go up on my CFM rating on my exhaust fan. But, meanwhile, when we take hot baths or showers we get condensation on the ceiling above the tub. So, much that it drips down.

    And just this week, we have been having alot of snow in Massachusetts and very cold (sub zero) temps. I've noticed that on the outside of my house, right where the bathroom is...there is ice frozen onto my outside wall...like it was running down from the sofits and froze. Also, i noticed it was about 20 degrees out and the icicles on my gutters in that area were still dripping (melting).

    My take on this is that I need more insulation in the area on top of my bathroom and probably other places. I think the heat from the house is going into the attic and melting the ice and causing condensation in the bathroom.

    Any suggestions or ideas

    Thanks

    Barry
  2. Dana

    Dana In the trades

    Messages:
    3,029
    Location:
    01609
    This really sucks, but it sounds like it wasn't properly air-sealed & insulated when they closed off the window and installed the surround- is the contractor bonded?

    You may be able to spot-insulate in the wall from the outside with dense-packed cellulose, as well as in the ceiling above, but the right approach is important, and may take some on-site analysis. You may need to wait for warmer weather when you can re-open things and let them dry out first, or inject low-rise foam, etc. If you live in central MA (Worcester county, to the western fringes of 128), scoot me private message for a local contractor reference.

    In the meantime, if you haven't already, buy a snow-rake and pull down all the snow at least 2-3 feet above the ice dams on the roof to limit the damage. It won't slow the heat leak, but you won't have saturated structural wood to dry out before fixing it for good. (This is turning out to be one of those epic snow winters like '95/96.)
  3. cacher_chick

    cacher_chick Test, Don't Guess!

    Messages:
    3,282
    Location:
    Land of Cheese
    One of my relatives was recently having a similar problem. They found that when the house was re-roofed, the roofers did not hook the bathroom vent back up to the vent terminal through the roof. All the warm and moist air from the bathroom was blowing into the attic, which caused major ice dams on the roof in the vicinity of the bathroom.

    I had some ice damming on our roof in past years, but since adding an R-19 layer of fiberglass insulation in the attic, the problem is gone.
  4. Barry J

    Barry J Member

    Messages:
    108
    Location:
    Mass
    Are you sure the problem is in the wall insulation...The contractor that did it is a very reputable contractor in Gardner, Ma...and I watched them put the insulation in. Could it be resulting from the attic not being properly insulated, and then when it was melting from the heat, running down the side of the house.????
  5. Cookie

    Cookie .

    Messages:
    5,658
    Location:
    .
    Does it look like this?
    That's not the Grim Reaper, that is my roofer!

    You need insurance, very good insurance, and a very good roofer.
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2011
  6. cacher_chick

    cacher_chick Test, Don't Guess!

    Messages:
    3,282
    Location:
    Land of Cheese
    Attic insulation could make a big difference but if the problem was attic insulation alone I would think you would have seen the problem during previous winters.
  7. Barry J

    Barry J Member

    Messages:
    108
    Location:
    Mass
    Yeah, but like I said we took out that window in the shower last year, and had all new siding on the house last year...the roof was done about 3 years ago. and this is the first year I can remember that we had a week long cold spell of sub zero temps.
    My gutters do look like the picture...but I also have water freezing on the side of the house. I'll try to attach a picture later.
  8. Cookie

    Cookie .

    Messages:
    5,658
    Location:
    .
    You need more insulation in the attic. I can swear to it. My house was covered in ice. The front, the back, the sides, even under the front porch on the inside of the walls, where it ran down under it. It pushed out a window on that picture you see, right out of the frame. Unreal. It came to over in total, over 8,000 in damages. I paid 100.00 for the deductible, and a tip for that roofer you see.

    When you ran your hand over my outside bricks walls, you couldn't feel the brick. It was just one solid sheet of ice. The entire wall, all the way up, and all the way down.

    If your gutters are like this, you might need to get a roofer to get it freed, on a somewhat good day. In my area, the roofer was in great demand. I wasn't alone in this mess, many people had the same problem. My roof is only 5 years old.

    This year? I also, had my gutters cleaned right before winter set in. Still, the front gutters, under the dormers, is jammed, but that gutter so far, can take claim to being the only one, thank God.
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2011
  9. Barry J

    Barry J Member

    Messages:
    108
    Location:
    Mass
    here are some pics of the ice on my house, attic insulation above the bathroom, and the ice dam

    Attached Files:

  10. cacher_chick

    cacher_chick Test, Don't Guess!

    Messages:
    3,282
    Location:
    Land of Cheese
    Figure out what the existing R-value is for the attic insulation. The recommended attic insulation for your area is R-40 to R-60. It looks like you have very little insulation. You will need vent chutes installed under the roof deck to allow air flow from the soffit vents and insulation layed in beyond the top of the outside walls.

    Get the snow off of the bottom edge of the ice dam so it can melt. If the damming continues you are going to have a considerable roof leak.
  11. Barry J

    Barry J Member

    Messages:
    108
    Location:
    Mass
    What size nail do I use for the vent chutes?
    Any suggestions on good ways of getting down into that same area?? I don't think I can reach the top of the outside wall, my pitch isn't steep on my roof.
    When they put the roof on they put ice shield all the way up 75% of the roof..will that help???
    Also, I'm thinking of trying the calcium Choride in the pantyhose trick, any thoughts?
  12. dlarrivee

    dlarrivee New Member

    Messages:
    1,172
    Location:
    Canada
    Nails for the chutes? How about some staples?
  13. Cookie

    Cookie .

    Messages:
    5,658
    Location:
    .
    That might be alittle itchy, at the very least it is a disturbing thought. :) Will have to recommend it to a fellow co-worker.


  14. cacher_chick

    cacher_chick Test, Don't Guess!

    Messages:
    3,282
    Location:
    Land of Cheese
    A good stapler might work; I used spring steel wire rod that is sized to fit into the rafter spaces to hold the chutes in plate. I found it in the same place I bought the chutes.

    Getting the insulation out over the outside walls is no fun task. I have a 4:12 pitch roof also. I cut a sheet of plywood into halves the long way to provide something to lie on in the attic, hopscotching one next to the other as needed. This allowed me to roll as far as I could towards the outside wall and then I used an 8' 2x2 to unroll the last foot of a batt of insulation out over the outside wall. It was full 2 days of misery, and sore muscles, but well worth it in the end. If I had to do it again I think I might blow it in instead of laying batts, if only for the convenience. I could of hired someone, but I really don't think anyone would have spent the time making sure the job was done as well as I did it myself.

    An alternative way of getting the insulation in over the walls (in good weather) would be to pull the fascia off and work it in from the outside. I have a 12" fascia and it would be pretty easy for me. Not so if your fascia is shorter, as many are.

    Also worth mentioning that if your soffit is not properly vented, the effectiveness of the vent chutes is greatly reduced.
  15. mcconnellplumbing

    mcconnellplumbing Scotsman

    Messages:
    43
    Location:
    Wellston, OK
    Well, its been in the low 70's in OK the last two days!!!! Will get into the low 30's for a couple of days then warm up to the low 40's for daytime highs after that. Ah!!!!
  16. cacher_chick

    cacher_chick Test, Don't Guess!

    Messages:
    3,282
    Location:
    Land of Cheese
    We are coming to your place...... our forecast is for 12-16" of snow this week.
  17. Barry J

    Barry J Member

    Messages:
    108
    Location:
    Mass
    That's what I think I'm going to do is , I have plywood flooring almost out to the end, I'll just get a couple of pieces of cardboard and lay on them to attach the baffle vents, then use that 2x2 idea to pust the insulation out. What I have now looks like pieces of insulation just thrown out there, and what happens is the wind comes thru the soffit vent and blows it around. I want to use rowed out insulation, any suggestions on what kind or any other ideas.
    thanks
    Barry
    BTW: the calcium choride in the pantyhose, is to lay ontop of the ice dam so that it would melt the ice...not to wear....but to each there own...I work in a hospital, I've seen worse.
  18. cacher_chick

    cacher_chick Test, Don't Guess!

    Messages:
    3,282
    Location:
    Land of Cheese
    Not sure what you mean by "rowed out". I used unfaced fiberglass batts; one layer runs parallel to and between the joists and the 2nd layer runs perpendicular on top of the first. Any insulation should be installed loosely (do not compress). Before laying any insulation, seal up all ceiling mounted electrical boxes and holes where wires or pipe is run into the lower levels. Fiberglass insulation is almost worthless if there are air leaks, so you want the leaks sealed up first.

    I wore coveralls taped shut at the wrists and ankles, a hat, and a dust respirator. I still itch thinking about it.
  19. ballvalve

    ballvalve General Engineering Contractor

    Messages:
    3,261
    Location:
    northfork, california
    Do a search for california foreclosure houses. Cheap and dont even have gutters. Stay under 1500 foot elevation.
  20. Cookie

    Cookie .

    Messages:
    5,658
    Location:
    .
    Be careful with that salt. One year our front awning was packed with ice. I mentioned to my husband back then, I would throw alittle bit of rock salt up there which he replied, " don't do that." But, I saw other people on the road losing their front awnings, they were falling off. Now, when I crawled out onto the awning, he didn't like that either. lol, so, I did the usual wifey thing, I paid him no mind. I threw a bunch of salt up there. Wow, the ice was gone. Come spring we started to get the nice gentle rains, then, heavier rains, but we liked to sit on the front porch like 2 old people and listen to the rain. Well, it turned into alittle more than listening to the rain, we felt the rain, like we were sitting under a water sprinkler. He turned to me with water running down his face into his shirt, and asked, " you know all the ice that was up there?" I said, " yeah." He then asked, " you threw salt up there didn't you?"

    So, it turns out, he maybe was right, only maybe, since a man, is never completely right. Salt or chemicals can do all kinds of things unknown, to all users.

    ... and, yes, I knew what you meant about the pantyhose, lol.
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