Wednesday, January 26, 2011


No, that's not a typo.  

It is instead the sign of a poorly insulated attic and the presence of many, many attic bypasses. What's an attic bypass, you ask? Well, attic bypasses are things like chimneys (we have 4), wiring, plumbing, recessed lighting, attic hatches, anything that will allow warm air to escape.  These cracks - not so blessed.
The poor insulation and all those bypasses warm the roof enough to melt the snow; once it's cold enough to freeze again though, watch out!  You might end up with a Dam[n] problem, as in an "Ice Dam."
"Under extreme conditions, with heavy snow and severe cold, almost any house can have an ice dam, whereas a house that is poorly insulated with attic bypasses will have ice dams during normal winter weather. Giant icicles...
Not The Fahm though it might as well be
...hanging from the eave are one indication of a poorly insulated attic with many attic bypasses." From Wikipedia
Speaking of giant icicles, we've got some whoppers! I'm not bragging when I say that one of them on the front of The Fahm reaches from the attic roof midway down the first floor. It is abundantly clear that we have had extreme weather conditions of late, and The Fahm's attic is poorly insulated and has many bypasses.Ice dams are bad, bad. Ronald Reagan voice  If left unattended they will eventually wreak havoc upon your home:

...thereby (among other insults) making it rain indoors, which I am not interested in experiencing, even if it is a dyed-in-the-wool New England Fahmhouse experience. I draw the line at freezing water drip drip dripping on my head (or other body parts, come to think of it) during any season, but especially during the ccccoldest one.  

Of course the best way to deal with ice dams is to put special heating wires up on the roof in the Fall as a preventative measure.  Well, had I known that such things even existed last Fall - both the ice dam and the special roof heating wires - it is safe to say that I would have taken the appropriate prophylactic steps. Since I did not know, and Raj's memories of ice dams had long faded away after living in California, we now have massive ice dams all across the front and back of The Fahm. 

What is one to do?

What one does is, one goes to Jed's Hardware after one's physical therapy appointment, and one buys 120 ice melt tabs and then one comes home and throws them up onto the roof.  This is harder to do than it sounds when one's target is two stories up and surrounded by over-one's-knee snow.  Before one could do that, one had to put on two pairs of pants (one waterproof and fleece lined), one pair of tights, two shirts, two pairs of socks, snow boots, gloves, hat, arctic-approved jacket and snowshoes. Only then could one waddle around the back to take aim.

Raj joined me before long, and we spent the better part of an hour flinging little hockey puck-shaped discs of calcium chloride on to both the single story roof and the third floor (attic) roof.  It was enough exertion that I very quickly became too hot for my aforementioned layers; I ended the exercise without the jacket, hat and gloves, sticking my bare hands into the snowdrifts to retrieve such poorly-thrown discs as skittered right off the roof...