With the cold temperatures we've been having around the Twin Cities area lately, as well as the snow and sleet, some homes are already developing icicles. And while they might look like a calendar photo as they dangle from the edge of gutters, if you have that issue at your house you have the potential for damage to those gutters, or worse. Icicles on gutters are usually a sign that at least one ice dam has formed at the edge of your roof.
Icicles Mean Ice Dams, and Ice Dams Mean Trouble for Your Gutters & RoofWhen water overflows your gutters in the winter, it freezes into icicles. And unless they melt, as the days go on those icicles get bigger and bigger as dripping water freezes when it hits them. Yes, they can be problematic. Sometimes they may break off and fall, which could pose a safety hazard to anyone who might be walking underneath. But there are even bigger issues than that. You could be looking at expensive repairs for your gutters as well as your roof. Why are icicles on gutters a problem? They usually mean you've got at least one ice dam that has formed. Without going into detail on how that happens, we want to stress the fact that it's something that should be dealt with right away. The first priority is getting that ice dam removed; then we can talk about what to do to prevent ice dams from forming on your roof again. Those icicles are problematic for three main reasons:
- The weight of the ice can tear the gutters right off your house, and most probably that will damage your soffit and fascia boards. You will need to have the gutters replaced (or at least a section of them) as well as repair to the underlying structure where the gutter was affixed.
- If those icicles are attached to shingles, they could come loose as well. Then you've got damage to part of your roof.
- The worst-case scenario is that the ridge of ice will cause water to seep underneath your roofing and get into your house. And that type of leakage is slow, something you might not notice for quite awhile, until you see stains on your ceilings. By that time you may have mold or mildew in your attic space, wet insulation, and definitely a wet ceiling. Rotted wood is also a possibility.