Are Icicles Bad for Your Home?

20 Feb Are Icicles Bad for Your Home?

Icicles on a roofDuring the winter, beautiful icicles dangle majestically from many roofs.  They give neighborhoods a Hallmark card feeling.  While you walk around and marvel at the beauty of the icicles, the though probably has crossed your mind “Are these bad for my home?”  As beautiful as they look, they can damage your home and a danger to you. Read on for what causes icicles and what you can do to protect yourself and your home.  

Cause of Icicles and Ice Dams

While small icicles are not a problem, large icicles (with a diameter of a pop can) are a result of ice dams.  Ice dams are caused by escaped heat from your attic.  As heat escapes through your roof, it melts the snow on your roof at an alarming rate.  The water runs down the roof to the overhang, where it again starts to freeze.  Icicles begin to form, as well as a dreaded ice dam.  

Problems From Ice Dams

Ice dams can damage your roof, cause leaks, blistering paint, as well as cause the wood in your home to rot.  Ice dams can also wet your insulation, causing it to be ineffective.  Your heating bill will also be higher than it could be because heat will be escaping.  If icicles become too heavy, they can fall, potentially causing property damage.  If you happen to be unlucky enough to be walking by when an icicle falls, you can become injured, or even killed by heavy icicles.  Be very careful around icicles.

Solution

Small icicles are normal, and there is no way to prevent them, but if you are getting large icicles and ice dams, you need to protect your home from further damage.  In order to prevent ice dams, make sure that your roof is properly insulated.  Make sure that your attic is air sealed and that your roof is properly protecting your home.  Areas to pay attention to are bathrooms, chimneys, plumbing stacks, dryer vents and light fixtures, as they allow extra heat to escape.  Make sure to give these places extra attention and insulation to prevent ice dams.  

If you have icicles on your roof, do not take a shovel and hack away, as you can cause roof damage, as well as injure yourself.  Never get on top of your roof if there is snow on it.  You can either get a snow rake or hire a professional to take care of the problem for you.  

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