Icicles are a big part of many of our childhood memories. There’s something magical about seeing glistening ice hanging from the eaves of the peaceful winter house. As nostalgic as they may make us, they can also be an indicator of problems that can damage your roof and your home's structure.

What Are Icicles? Water melts due to sunlight or heat from the attic, and then naturally runs off the slope of the roof. When the temperature drops again, the water freezes in the shape of icicles as it’s dripping. Why They’re Dangerous One of the most immediate dangers from icicles is of them falling.  Falling icicles are often heavy, but even the small ones can injure someone. This weight may also cause serious damage to the building’s structure.  A heavy line of icicles could pull your gutters or fascia off.  And a concentration of icicles on the edge of the roof could be a symptom of an ice dam.

Ice dams sometimes form when there’s too much snow on the roof and the lowest level of snow melts. This melt then runs down to the gutter and refreezes when the cold air hits it. This situation can cause water to back up behind them, leak into the attic and cause water damage. Water damage in of itself is expensive to repair, but ice dams often also require repair to the roof structure because of their weight.

Preventing Icicles and Ice Dams To prevent icicles and ice dams from forming, you can take the following actions
  • Seal air gaps in the attic
  • Make sure your attic is well insulated
  • Ensure proper attic ventilation
  • Remove excess snow after big storms with a roof rake
There’s no denying that icicles are very pretty.  If you enjoy the charm they produce, consider putting up birdhouses or other outdoor accents where they can form to add the magic of icicles without the harm they can cause. If you do have an ice dam, it's a good idea to get it removed quickly before further problems develop.  Consult the advice of a professional ice dam removal contractor.  Then later you can take steps to prevent the problem from reoccuring.