Asked by: Kristy Andrabide
home and garden indoor environmental quality

Why do I have icicles hanging from my gutters?

Last Updated: 25th April, 2020

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An ice dam is caused by a buildup of ice in your gutters. As the temperature fluctuates, the snow on your roof melts, sending water down to the gutters. The water refreezes inside your gutters, turning the overflow into icicles. Also, a melting ice dam can leak into a home's attic, causing damage to the insulation.

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Simply so, why do I have so many icicles on my gutters?

The cause of ice damming is very simple: too much heat in the attic. If the temperature in the attic is above freezing and there is snow on the roof, the snow melts. Since the gutter is not above the house where it can be heated, the water refreezes into ice – presto – ice dams in the gutter and icicles hanging down.

Beside above, are Icicles a sign of poor insulation? That means there's heat loss likely due to poor insulation and/or ventilation in the attic. Also keep an eye out for icicles — another sign of heat loss. If your roof is warm enough to melt the snow but it's cold enough outside for snow to refreeze, your roof is losing heat.

Considering this, should you remove icicles from gutters?

Proper removal of icicles from a gutter should be done from the roof of your house. There are risks involved with working on your roof, especially in icy conditions. Our roofing experts are used to these risks and can not only remove existing icicles but prevent them from forming in the future.

What can I do about large icicles?

The most effective way to eliminate ice dams is to stop snowmelt by making the roof colder. This can be achieved by insulating the floor of the attic and under the roof, and by blocking all crevices where warm air from the interior can rise into the attic. If possible, keep snow off the roof with a snow rake.

Related Question Answers

Queenie Babashov

Professional

How do you melt ice dams in gutters?

Lay the hose onto the roof so it crosses the ice dam and overhangs the gutter. If necessary, use a long-handled garden rake or hoe to push it into position. The calcium chloride will eventually melt through the snow and ice and create a channel for water to flow down into the gutters or off the roof.

Lanita Payen

Professional

Should I remove gutters?

If you are like many homeowners, you have probably wondered whether gutters are even necessary. After all, they are prone to clogging, attract nesting birds, can only handle a limited volume of water, and can eventually pull away from your roof or tilt. Some roofers even advise against them.

Lahoucine Etxeandia

Professional

How do I keep my gutters from freezing?

The best way to prevent the damage caused by frozen gutters is to keep them from freezing in the first place.
  1. Make Sure Your Gutters Are Properly Sloped.
  2. Keep Gutters Clean.
  3. Consider Adding Rock Salt.
  4. Remove Snow From Your Roof.
  5. Try Heated Gutter Cables.

Urtza Kowar

Explainer

How do you protect your gutters from leaves?

5 Ways to Protect Your Rain Gutters from Leaf Build-Up
  1. Prune All Roof-Level (and above) Tree Branches Surrounding Your Home.
  2. Regular Gutter Cleaning and Maintenance.
  3. Regular Roof Sweeps.
  4. Prevent Leaf-Nests from Pests.
  5. Install Gutter Guards That Are Designed to Keep Leaves Out.

Abderahman Ganslmeier

Explainer

Do ice dams always cause damage?

As water backs up behind the dam, it can leak through the roof shingles (if you don't have properly installed ice and water shield membrane) and cause damage to walls, ceilings, insulation and other areas. Ice dams, in an of themselves, are not a real problem and usually cause no damage.

Gilmara Juzvishin

Explainer

Are ice dams covered by homeowners insurance?

ice dams and homeowners insurance
Fortunately, standard homeowners insurance policies (including those from Esurance) provide coverage for ice dam damage — including any water damage to your home that's suddenly and unexpectedly caused by ice damming.

Gihan Russkih

Pundit

Can you put ice melt in gutters?

The simplest one is to take a few handfuls of calcium chloride (NOT rock salt; this can corrode the gutter and cause harm to vegetation when the ice melts) and sprinkle it inside the gutters. Putting some on the edge of the shingles can also inhibit ice dam formation.

Falk Makhlouf

Pundit

Should I remove snow from my roof?

If your roof is prone to ice dams, pros recommend removing snow at least from the roof's overhang when 6 inches or more accumulates to avert one. An ice dam is a ridge of ice near the roof's edge that prevents melting snow from draining into gutters.

Hasnaa Erquicia

Pundit

Does roof raking prevent ice dams?

Using a long-handled roof rake to removing the snow from at least at lower 4 feet of roof edge can help prevent ice dams from forming. It is usually not necessary to remove the entire ice dam, since opening up a channel may be enough to allow additional meltwater to flow off the roof.

Dayong Mokhtari

Pundit

Does Gutter Helmet cause ice dams?

Your Gutter Helmet will not be harmed by and is not the cause of icicle formation. Basically, you are wasting energy dollars to heat the roof which causes snow to melt and roll down to the eaves becoming icicles and – ice dams. Remember that it should be the same temperature in the attic – as it is outside.

Mervyn Sanchotena

Pundit

Is roof raking necessary?

Q When is it necessary to use a roof rake? A Never, never use a roof rake or try to shovel snow off a slanted roof. It will do no good, will not cure ice dams, is extremely hazardous and can harm asphalt shingles and, in your case, slate shingles.

Lingzhu Amaral

Teacher

What does it mean when you have icicles hanging from your roof?

Icicles form when snow accumulates on your roof and then melts. If your attic has insufficient insulation or improper ventilation so that your attic becomes warm, this will heat the roof and cause the snow to melt.

Aroma Vinciguerra

Teacher

Can I put salt on my roof to melt ice?

Putting rock salt and ice melt directly on your roof will damage shingles, but by filling the socks with salt and ice melt, tying them off and sticking a few in your gutters, it will help clear them out. While it's rarer, ice damming can also occur on roofs without gutters.

Raquel Pogner

Teacher

When should you shovel your roof?

If your main goal is to prevent ice dams, you should clear your roof after about every 6'' of snowfall. But if your main concern is a roof collapse, then raking your roof after every 12'' or more of snowfall should be adequate.

Angiolina Langenstein

Teacher

How do I get ice off my roof and gutters?

Place the rake head horizontally at the edge of your gutter and roof. Then pull down toward the ground, scooping ice and snow out of your gutters. Fill pantyhose with deicer. You should use a calcium chloride deicer, rather than salt.

Yahdih Donoso

Reviewer

How much snow on roof is dangerous?

Most roofs can withstand 20 pounds per square foot of snow. 2. Calculate the weight of the snow on your roof. Ten inches of fresh snow equates to about five pounds per square foot, which means your roof likely can support four feet of fresh snow.

Elnora Calcines

Reviewer

How do I get ice off my roof?

Here are five ways to remove an ice dam from your roof.
  1. Eliminate its “fuel source.” If left alone, the ice dam will continue to be built up by the snow and ice up on your roof.
  2. Chip away.
  3. Use a chemical de-icer product.
  4. Reuse old stockings or panty hose.
  5. Spray warm water.

Franco Valderrama

Reviewer

How do I stop ice buildup on my roof?

Ice Dam Prevention
  1. Use a Roof Rake. The best way to prevent an ice dam is simply to remove the snow from your roof before it has a chance to melt and refreeze.
  2. Install Heat Cables.
  3. Improve Attic Insulation.
  4. Improve Attic Ventilation.
  5. Chip and Hammer.
  6. Spray Warm Water.
  7. Apply Chemical Deicer.
  8. Place an Ice Dam Sock.

Aime Toga

Supporter

How do I remove icicles from my house?

2) Remove the Icicles
  1. Take an extension pole or a long broom and simply knock them down.
  2. While this process is actually a bit of a hoot, exercise a little caution.
  3. Be mindful that icicles hanging off of gutters may also mean the gutters are filled with ice, and you could bring those down along with icicles.