The north-north-west side of our house has a 2 foot soffit/overhang. This morning we notice that the vinyl siding of this wall is covered with icicles. It looks like water is somehow getting into the bottom metal runs of the soffit and travelling from the gutter end towards the wall and then dripping down the wall.

We are in upstate NY so we have had a lot of snow and there is a 3 to 4 inch block of ice coming out the top of the gutter.

Is this ice damming? How concerned should I be if the attic or the inside of the exterior wall in question shows no water getting inside the house?

Here are some pictures

Icicles over window Icicles along wall Overview of situation

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    Be very concerned. The fact that you don't see wetness inside is probably mostly due to a vapor barrier - most likely the inside of the wall is wet. Pictures? – Ecnerwal Mar 7 '15 at 23:04
  • I just added an imgur link with pictures. – 0pt1m1z3 Mar 7 '15 at 23:37
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    Edited those inline for you. Look very closely at the ops of all the windows on the wall - often one of the first places you'll actually see water. There tends to be a fairly long time between water getting in the wall and water coming out where you can see it, IME. – Ecnerwal Mar 7 '15 at 23:44

Even if you are absolutely sure there is no water leaking into the attic you still have a problem. I am guessing that the water is getting pushed up and under the drip edge. It is migrating under the soffit trim and dripping out where it meets the siding. Potentially the water may get behind the siding if it builds up far enough. There are a variety of methods for dealing with the ice. Try to remove as much of the snow as you safely can. Melt the ice with an ice melt product that doesn't contain rock salt. If the roof is higher than you are comfortable working on you can buy ice melt in a block form that can be thrown onto the roof from the ground. You can also throw pantyhose filled with ice melt onto the roof. All the ice doesn't need to be removed you just need several channels that run from the eave toward the ridge to allow the water to drain from under the ice.

  • Do you think we should file a claim with our insurance? – 0pt1m1z3 Mar 8 '15 at 1:07
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    @0pt1m1z3: Why do you need to file an insurance claim? You have simple instructions to fix right here in this answer. You Americans have the strangest attitude when it comes to resolving problems!! – Lightness Races in Orbit Mar 8 '15 at 3:15
  • If I have home owner's insurance and it covers this kind of event... Why should I not have them pay to fix the issue and help to try prevent it from happening again? – 0pt1m1z3 Mar 8 '15 at 10:07
  • And didn't mean to say that I wasn't going to remove the snow and ice on the top. But all the snow we have gotten has definitely damaged something on the roof / gutter that is causing this phenomenon. If that remediation is covered under insurance, than why now? – 0pt1m1z3 Mar 8 '15 at 15:26

If snow has piled up on the overhang and frozen, then an ice dam could have formed.

Based on the picture it looks like the dripping is outside the house and only a small leak. It is possible the leak has always been there but you only now noticed it due to the icicle.

I would suggest removing any snow or ice on the overhang. If there is no accumulation then it is not an ice dam, just an ordinary leak in the overhang somewhere.

  • There's a lot of ice in the entire run of the gutter. – 0pt1m1z3 Mar 8 '15 at 0:59

My guess is that vinyl siding is either horizontal, or slightly sloped towards the house wall. Water under these conditions can move even if surface is horizontal. Solution would be to put a drip batten at the edge of the roof. It can be metal sheet or anything similar. This will stop the water from getting near the wall. Whenever water is freezing on your house you should be worried.

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