Homeowner nightmare as ice dams send water into home

frozen gutter
Posted at 6:29 PM, Feb 19, 2021

DONELSON, Tenn. (WTVF) — The worst of the winter storms are behind us, but the ice and snow on many homes have left a lasting impression.

Short of ripping the walls out and seeing for himself, Scott Studer of Donelson is down to fans blowing cool air to keep his walls dry.

It’s not every day your wall starts leaking, so Studer posted a picture on Facebook hoping to catch the attention of experts. Roofers from all across Tennessee reached out to say they could help, but that’s until they had a closer look at the roof.

Not that Studer has a lot of snow and ice, it’s just the area it’s in that makes it a challenge for anyone to climb. By then, every roofer had turned him down. Those we called say they’re willing to do the work, but the price would reflect the risk.

With only one option left, Scott called his homeowner’s insurance agent who said they’ve answered several calls just like this.

When water pools in the gutters then freeze over, any water that melts later has nowhere to go but into your home.

“It can’t go anywhere so it’s going to find its way through roofing nails, through cracks in the boards, through any little gaps in the shingles or anything,” Studer said.

At least for now the plan is to keep his wall and carpet dry, while Studer waits for a water mitigation team to assess the damage. Fans in the living room and the attic cool the walls, just long enough to stop any more melting into his home.

Experts also suggest using calcium chloride to melt ice in the gutters, with the hope of sending water down the right way. Warm water can also break up ice dams for the same effect.

You could try and use a blunt object to knock the ice loose, but experts say using a ladder to do so is too great a risk. They recommend anything requiring a ladder is done by a professional.