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Icicles May be Pretty, But They Can Spell Trouble

Many people think of icicles as natural holiday decorations, but they could be an indicator of a serious roofing issue.

Nothing can add a wintery touch to your home like icicles can, and while they may be beautiful, they can also be a sign of trouble. If there are a few small icicles hanging off of your roof, then you probably don’t need to worry, but if you have several large icicles, you may have ice dams on your roof, and ice dams can wreak havoc on your roof and need to be taken care of as soon as possible.

What are ice dams, and what causes them?

An ice dam is exactly what it sounds like, an ice barrier that forms on the edge of your roof and prevents water from running off of it. Ice dams are caused by insufficient attic insulation and ventilation. When your attic isn’t properly insulated, the heat escapes and melts the snow on your roof. Then, the melted snow seeps down and refreezes along the edge of your roof, forming an ice dam. Icicles are a result of the water that does escape from the ice dam. As water drips off the ice dam, it refreezes to create an icicle. Icicles could also be the result of gutters that are overflowing as well.

How to Know if your Roof is Properly Ventilated

What kind of damage can ice dams cause?

As we mentioned before, ice dams prevent moisture from escaping from your roof. Without anywhere for the moisture to go, it can start to seep into the roof itself. Not only can this cause damaging roof leaks, it can also lead to structural rot, as well as the growth of mildew and mold inside your home. If an ice dam breaks free, it can cause other issues as well. A broken ice dam could pull off gutters and shingles, and it could also cause harm to anything or anyone that it falls on.

What are your options if you have ice dams?

There are a few ways you could go about getting rid of an existing ice dam on your roof:

  • Break the ice dam into small chunks – You can tap the ice dam lightly with a blunt mallet to break it up and remove it from your roof. Never use an ax or any other sharp object that could damage your shingles!
  • Clear out your downspouts and gutters – Do this carefully to avoid damaging your spouts or gutters.
  • Melt through ice dams – Another option is to use calcium chloride to melt ice dams. If you want to avoid damaging the metals and paint on your roof, never use rock salt to do this.

Regardless of which option you choose, it’s always best to hire a professional to deal with ice dams on your roof.

How do you prevent ice dams?

Ice dams can be dangerous, and if you ever watched A Christmas Story, then you know that even Ralphie’s mom warned him that “icicles have been known to kill people!” The safest thing you can do for your roof, your pocketbook and your home is to prevent them from occurring in the first place. The one and only way to find a cure for your home’s ice dams is to get your home properly insulated and ventilated. Insulation will ensure that the heat doesn’t escape from your attic in the wrong places, and ventilation will ensure that the heat that does escape will be carried away from your home.

Infographic: Ventilation – How it Saves home owners Thousands!

Do you have icicles hanging off of your roof?

If so, don’t just ignore them or look at them as nature’s holiday decorations! Instead, call the experts at Sargeant’s Roofing to get the expert roof repairs you need in Edmonton. We offer a guaranteed two-hour response time, and this winter you can enjoy 60 percent off of your roofing! Contact us today!