Watch It Again: Ask This Old House
Tommy, Richard, and Kevin offer some timely advice for brutal winter weather
Grab a mug of hot chocolate and tune in to Ask TOH, Season 14, Episode 10, “Winter-Weather Special.”
With the Ask This Old House team all based in New England, there is plenty of accumulated knowledge about dealing with the house-related issues that come with frosty temperatures. One big issue is ice dams, large blocks of ice that form along the edge of the roof. “Roof shingles are meant to shed water down, but an ice dam will force the water up under the shingles and create a leak in the roof,” says Tom Silva, who has seen people attack ice dams with chainsaws and axes.
A better, quick temporary solution is to fill a tube sock with rock salt and toss it up on the ice dam to try to create a channel in the ice dam so water can run off.
But the long-term solutions involve insulation, described in the episode with a segment featuring an insulation contractor and a homeowner who has struggled with ice dams. Another common worry is whether the furnace will keep working; Richard Trethewey walks homeowners through the workings of a basic furnace as well as the key points for conducting an annual furnace checkup. “The annual furnace checkup is essential to keep the furnace running at its most efficient,” says Richard.
But for Roger Cook, the winter weather means revving up a machine: a snowblower. Roger shows his favorite machines, including an electric snowblower that has the advantage of starting every time—but is only big enough to handle a deck or a small driveway. To ensure a gas-powered snowblower will always start, Roger offers tips for protecting the engine, including special additives and fuels; checking the spark plugs; and replacing the belts. “If you take a little time to put the machine away right in the spring, it will start up for you come the first big snowstorm,” says Roger.