Icicle Safety Tips
Icicles may look beautiful hanging off buildings and other structures during the winter, but they bring danger as they grow larger and fall. Besides the risk of injuries and fatalities, large icicles falling with this force can cause significant property damage.
Furthermore, icicles on the edge of a roof could be an indication of ice dams, which can sometimes form when snow piles up on your roof. If heat from your house escapes into the attic and warms up the sheathing while the weather stays cold, it’s likely that snow will melt and refreeze once it hits colder air at the edge of the roof. An ice dam may cause water to back up behind it and leak into the attic and/or side walls—not a good situation. Insulating the attic or highest areas of the house can limit snow melting on the roof and the formation of ice dams. Limiting use of chimneys also can help reduce uneven roof heating.
The best approach is to remain cautious. Kids especially can be tempted to knock off frozen spikes and they are the ones most prone to injury. Talk to your kids in advance about safety. Follow these Safety Tips and recommendations:
- Do not stand under structures with icicles. The weight of icicles can cause gutters, awnings, and ornamental features to collapse and fall from the building.
- Use a wooden pole that is long enough so that icicles may be knocked down without causing personal injury from standing beneath the icicles, or over extending your reach.
- Tap the icicles. Do not hit them with extensive force. Hitting the icicle to hard may cause building damage to the area where the icicle has formed. If the icicle does not break loose, contact a professional contractor to perform the removal work.
- Have large icicles removed by a contractor who will have the proper equipment to deal with the conditions.
- Never climb onto a snow or ice covered roof – you could slip.
- Never place a ladder directly against a gutter covered with ice or icicles. The pressure of the ladder against the gutter may cause the ice or icicles to dislodge, falling on the person or property below.
How to Prevent Icicles & Ice Dams
The best way to prevent ice dams and icicles from forming is to make sure that warm air doesn’t leak from your living space into your attic.
- Seal any gaps or cracks in your attic.
- Add enough insulation to your attic floor to stop significant heat leakage from the living space.
- Make sure your attic is properly vented to allow air circulation.
- Use a roof rake to remove excess snow from big storms to help prevent buildup.
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