Icicles… One of those beautiful winter creations that adults and kids alike stand in awe at. The bigger the better, right? I mean who doesn’t love an icicle that hangs all the way to the ground! Kids want to eat them and parents want to admire them in their grand perfection.

But wait… Icicles are actually dangerous if you think about it, falling off the house and landing on somebody. Ripping your gutters or shingles off as they fall. And why do they form anyway? Is there something wrong with my roof?

The answer is yes, there is most likely an issue. Let me explain.

So we all know that warm air rises. The warm air rises all the way up into your attic. Let’s say that your attic doesn’t have any insulation because you just haven’t gotten around to it. Or maybe you just don’t have enough insulation in there. Well, the warm air then warms your roof, causing the foot of snow you just got from a Lake Effect snow storm to melt. This snow melts and runs down your roof until it hits the eaves, which are nice and cold because the warm air doesn’t reach this far. Ice forms, and gets bigger and bigger, forming an ice dam. This dam overflows over the roof and icicles form.

The next thing you know you have 8 foot icicles and your kids are arguing over who gets to knock them down, which of course knocks your gutters down too.

So how do you prevent the fighting, I mean the icicles?

Insulate, insulate insulate…. And ventilate.

One of the easiest places to start is in your unfinished attic. That insulation that you have been putting off installing is more important than you thought. It not only saves you money on your heating bill, but also saves your home from costly repairs, such as new gutters, replacing shingles and repairing water damage from leaky roofs.

When insulating your attic, be sure that you use the proper insulation for your structure, and don’t forget the baffles. Baffles will not only remove any residual heat loss that will melt the snow to form the ice, but also keep the roof cool during summer and extend the life of your roof. They are important for air flow, and air flow is important to minimize moisture in your attic. Moisture causes mold, which makes it necessary to call us. Talk about a domino effect!

Once you have your attic properly insulated and ventilated, make sure that you don’t have any other air gaps. Check windows, doors, electric outlets, etc. Be sure that your existing insulation is in properly and hasn’t been damaged or compressed.  If you are still having issues, don’t hesitate to call a professional to help you out.

Icicles are fun, they can be beautiful, and after all of the fighting can make a kid as happy as a smowman in a Lake effect snow storm. But icicles cause damage and can be dangerous to your family and your home. So when you go to the home improvement store to buy your insulation, grab some of those colorful icicles lights too. You’ll get the best of both worlds and won’t have to hear “no, I want to knock them down” all winter!

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