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A freeze-thaw fiasco

February 8, 2016

I’ve previously written about how the warm-ish winter daytime temps in western Nebraska can generate (sometimes beautiful) ice.

I’m writing now to warn about what those fluctuating temps can do to your house, if you’re not watching out for it.


Oh, yes – a lovely ,warming winter day, when newly fallen snow begins to melt on a dark-colored rooftop.


Exposure to the sun makes a big difference. On my deck, the sun’s rays sneak around the upright poles of the railing to melt the snow, but below-freezing temps in the shade of the main railing keep the snow frozen.

So, what happens when snowmelt from the nice, warm, dark-colored roof at the perfect slant to capture winter rays interacts with the vertical, white, metal downspout shaded by the neighbor’s house?

Ice. Lots and lots of ice.


Ice that clogs the entire downspout from ground to top, causing water to cascade down the sides, puddle next to the foundation, and create more ice.


Ice that swells inside the downspout and bursts the metal seams, resulting in me having to replace said section of downspout.


Standing on the porch while contorting myself around the corner of the house and using a cellphone camera to try to see screw holes on the far side of the gutter kind of makes me crabby.

I’m thinking that, when the next hailstorm trashes our house, we need to replace our white gutters with darker-colored ones. All the better to absorb solar radiation, my dear.

Copyright 2016 by Katie Bradshaw

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