Icicles look innocent and beautiful glistening in a winter wonderland, but these frozen drippings can end up being more dangerous and damaging than you may realize.
If you have lived in Indiana for long, you are likely all too familiar with icicles and how they form, but let’s recap: snow and ice on your roof melts during a warm-up, sunny day, or other reasons and begins to drip off your roof and off the sides of your gutters before refreezing once again. Pretty simple stuff.
However, once they do form, the weight they carry can put a tremendous strain on the sides of roofs and gutters they attach to. This can lead them to weigh down, bend, and damage gutters and shingles. The damage they can do can ultimately cause homeowners to have to invest in gutter and roofing repair to prevent further damage from water leaking through their roof.
For homeowners, preventing or minimizing the size or number of icicles from forming is an effective way of maintaining the condition and lifespan of your roof and gutters.
So, the question is, what is the best way to do so? Of course, there is always the do-it-yourself approach of knocking them off with a broom or climbing up on the roof yourself and clearing off snow. But climbing up on the roof yourself in the middle of winter is extremely dangerous and trying to knock icicles loose from the ground can end up damaging your gutters even more if you aren’t careful.
Instead, try these safe and effective long-term solutions to preventing icicles and protecting your roof and gutters.
Secure Chimney Flashing
Does your home have a chimney? If so, it could be contributing to creating icicles. Your chimney flashing, the apron running around the bottom of your chimney, can wear out and crack over time. If it does, warm air and heat from inside your home can eek out and blow across your roof melting snow and ice.
Check out the condition of your flashing, and if you notice signs of deterioration or damage, have a professional come by to replace and secure your flashing. Roof repair isn’t something you want to try and do yourself because of the potential dangers involved, so leave it to the pros.
Improve Attic Insulation
Similar to warm air escaping through chimney flashing, another commonplace for heat to escape is straight through from your attic. If the ceiling of your attic isn’t sufficiently insulation, the warmth of your attic will attribute to melting the snow and ice accumulation directly above it.
As the water rolls off these high points, it will eventually come in contact with cooler areas closer to the edges and freeze again, causing icicles and ice dams. This, fortunately, is a protective measuring you may be able to improve upon yourself by padding your attic ceiling with more insulation.
Keep Gutters Clear
Cleaning out your gutters isn’t anyone’s favorite household chore, but for those that want to prevent significant damage from icicles, it is certainly a worthwhile one. Clean and clear gutters push water rolling off your roof down your waterspout and away from your house. If your gutters are full of sticks, leaves, and other debris, it can prevent water from going down the spout and cause it to spill out the sides.
If this happens during a freeze, ice can compact inside your gutters both clogging them up and forming icicles along the sides, putting even more weight on your gutters than usual. Make sure you are doing whatever you can whenever you can to keep your gutters clear so they can do their job.
Improve Attic Ventilation
Proper attic ventilation helps circulate out warm air inside with cool air outside. This not only regulates the indoor temperature that can help warm air from melting snow and ice on the roof directly above, but a well-placed vent can even push that warm air away from the roof altogether.
If your home doesn’t have a gable vent, whirlybird, or ridge vent in place, this is likely a home improvement project worth taking on to help better regulate the temperature inside your attic.
Need help securing your chimney flashing or in need of some roofing repairs after a long and brutal winter? Leave it to Lathrop Contracting. We proudly serve Indianapolis homeowners with all their roofing, gutter, and chimney repair and installation needs. Call (317) 783-6929 to schedule your free roofing, gutter, or masonry estimate today.
What is the best way to prevent icicles?
Having proper attic insulation and ventilation is important to prevent icicles and ice dams from forming. Doing so keeps warm air from coming in contact with snow and ice on your roof, causing them to melt and refreeze once they reach cooler areas on your roof. Securing your chimney’s flashing will also prevent warm air from leaking out as well.