This winter has brought ample amounts of snowfall and mixed precipitation to Connecticut, along with long-standing cold temperatures. Many homeowners are finding that icicles have formed along the edges of their roof or gutters. While icicles may add a winter wonderland effect to your home, they are actually caused by something less desirable than you think, and it may be setting you up for big problems and expensive repairs.
How Icicles and Ice Dams Form
Icicles and ice dams form in your gutters and along roof edges when snow melts on your roof and meets the cold air of the roof edges or overhangs. The melting snow is actually being caused by energy leaking from your home. As warm air from the inside of your home rises into the attic, it warms the roof, causing snow to melt and often, creating an ice dam.
As snow continues to melt it pools behind the ice dam and can leak under the shingles and into the interior of your home. This will be seen as a water spot that may be wet to the touch and may be an indicator of large amounts of water in the walls or ceiling.
The bottom line is that if you have ice dams or icicles you should have your home checked for energy leaks, adequate insulation and proper attic ventilation. An energy specialist can identify and seal drafts that can lead to cost-savings and can also be preventing future problems caused by a leaking roof.
How to Prevent Ice Dams
If ice dams have already formed in your roof, you may need to contact an insulation contractor to help fix the problem. DO NOT try to climb onto your roof to remove the ice.
Here are a few tips to prevent ice dams from forming:
- Speak with an energy expert at 877–WISE-USE (Connecticut’s Energy Information Line) to sign up for a low-cost or no-cost Home Energy Solutions energy assessment and weatherization program supported by the Energy Efficiency Fund in partnership with your electric or natural gas utility company. You can also sign up by clicking here.
- Through the Home Energy Solutions program, an energy specialist will check your home for energy leaks, adequate insulation and proper ventilation and will make on-the-spot air leak repairs. They will make recommendations that can help you save energy and money, and help to avoid troublesome ice dams in the future.
- Proper air sealing, insulation and ventilation will address the root of the problem and may prevent future problems.
For additional information on icicles and ice dams, visit ENERGYSTAR®.
Image courtesy of University of Minnesota Extension, Ice Dams publication http://www.extension.umn.edu/distribution/housingandclothing/DK1068.html. All rights reserved.