Icicles are very common in the winter. While you may not give them much thought, they can pose a threat to your family and your gutters. Icicles can be very heavy and can potentially add hundreds or even thousands of pounds of weight to your roof and gutters.
Icicles typically form when gutters are clogged with debris, causing melted snow to pool up, spill over your gutters, and freeze. However, there are two additional factors that contribute to the build-up of icicles – insulation and ventilation. These two factors go hand in hand, and both are essential to help protect your home.
Lack of Insulation
In Nebraska, our furnaces often work overtime to heat our homes during the winter. This warm air from your home rises. If your ceilings are not thoroughly insulated, the warm air can make its way up to your attic. Warm attics in the wintertime are not ideal. Heat in your attic can cause any snow that is on your roof to melt, and then refreeze as it moves toward your gutters. This causes damaging ice dams and icicles. You can read more about how ice dams are formed in this blog post.
Although proper ventilation to expel warm air is also essential, thoroughly insulating your attic can aid in preventing this issue. Here are a few signs that your insulation may need to be replaced –
- Frequent leaks, condensation, or spots on your ceilings
- Uneven temperature throughout your home
- Pest or rodent problems
- Drafts in one room or throughout your whole home
- High energy bill
- Your insulation appears thin, wet, or is missing in spots
When your attic ventilation is not as effective as it should be, warm air from your home that inevitably makes it past your insulation and up to your attic can’t escape up through your roof. As we mentioned before, this warms your roof and causes any snow to melt, then re-freeze in the cold air. This will cause ice dams and icicles which will significantly weigh down your gutters. Adding a fan to your attic will allow for proper ventilation so that any warm air that gets past the insulation can be properly vented out without warming your roof.
Your last line of defense against icicles is regularly cleaning out your gutters. This will ensure that rain and melted snow that does come from your roof and makes it to your gutters can be properly drained without getting blocked by sticks, leaves, and other debris. We recommend cleaning your gutters out every spring and fall, and as needed after storms.
If you do have icicles form on your gutters, you can carefully remove them to prevent them from falling and causing any potential harm to family, pets, or landscaping.
Getting icicles year after year may be an indication of a bigger underlying issue. Contact us today to schedule your free inspection. Our qualified estimators can inspect your roof and gutters and provide you with recommendations for any necessary repairs!