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What Your Roof Icicles Are Trying to Tell You

Call us at 1-800-ICE-DAMS if you have an ice dam on your roof and live anywhere in the lower 48, including in hard-hit Minnesota, Illinois, and Wisconsin. We are properly licensed, bonded, and insured, and are the top-rated ice dam removal company in the US. You can end the leaks with a phone call to Ice Dam Guys®.

Icicles aren’t just Minnesota décor: They’re also an early warning that you may have an ice dam.  They can also tell you how serious the ice dam is, and how close you are to a damaging leak that can soak the interior of your home.

I know I may have sounded like a strip-mall fortune teller just now, but bear with me for a minute

Icicles don’t always mean ice dams. But they do mean snow is melting on your roof, and that some of the runoff is freezing into icicles as it trickles off the edge of your roof.  It’s this very “melting-and-refreezing” process that causes ice dams in the first place.

Small icicles along the edge of your roof: Green Alert.  

Your response to those little icicles should be to break out your fancy new roof rake and remove the snow from your roof.  Remove the snow from your overhangs, at the very least.  Icicles have to attach somewhere on your roof, which means there’s more ice up there.  You can keep those baby ice dams from getting bigger, or you can let them grow into big-n’-hairy ice dams that may cause leaking and heartache.

No need to call an ice dam removal company at this point.  Instead, break out your roof rake and get those triceps working!

Ice buildup along your overhangs: Yellow Alert

Those pretty little icicles have turned into large spears, accompanied by a several-inch-thick layer ice along your overhangs.  If your home was in the movie Cliffhanger, Sylvester Stallone might use one of your icicles to reason with a bad guy.

You now officially have an ice dam.  That doesn’t necessarily mean a leak is certain – at least not yet.  But it would be wise for you to get all the snow off your roof.  Even better would be to remove all the snow and all the ice.  As a poker player, I like to call this the “Kenny Rogers stage” – meaning you should only gamble as much as you’re willing to lose.  It’ll be a lot cheaper to remove all the snow and ice now, rather than later – when there’s more of it, or after you’ve also had to fork over for costly interior repairs because of a leak your could have nipped in the bud.

Consider calling an ice dam removal company to have the snow and/or ice removed from your roof.  At this point, there’s no immediate rush, so take enough time to make an educated decision as to whom to hire.  You’ll want to get someone out in the next few days if possible.

Icicles under the Overhang: Orange Alert 

If you see icicles underneath the overhang you’ve got yourself an Orange Alert.  This means the ice dam has grown in thickness, enough for water to pool above your ice & water shield – a rubber membrane that runs under the first 3-6 feet of your shingles.  Right about now, the melting snow is slowly refreezing, which causes your ice dam to get thicker and to climb up towards the peak of your roof.

By now you’ve got a pool of water forming that has very recently started leaking through the shingles and down into your soffits.  It won’t be long before this leak finds its way into your wall cavity, at which point you’ll have a major interior leak on your hands.

Now you’ll want call Ice Dam Guys® before it becomes an absolute emergency situation.  You may have only a few short hours (or at most a few days) before you’ve got water inside your home, and remediation and repairs to pay for.

Consider yourself lucky if you’re able to have your ice dam removed before water finds its way into your home (if it hasn’t already).

You are no longer playing a game of “wait and see”.  The time to act is now.  An interior leak is imminent.  Call a professional ice dam removal company immediately.

Although you don’t have much time to spare, take a few deep breaths and spend a little time to find and research a trustworthy, experienced, ice dam removal company.  When you’ve made your decision, try to get on their schedule ASAP.  If they don’t offer same-day or next-day service, you should move on to someone who does.

Ice on your Siding: RED ALERT!

When you see an icicle on your siding, imagine Captain Kirk yelling, “Red Alert!”

This means there’s water leaking through the roof, under the shingles, leaching through your soffit, and oozing down onto your siding, where it refreezes.  Remember, your siding is just the other side of your interior wall, so your living space might spring leaks at any moment.  If you have ice buildup on your siding, you’re only about 2 inches away from having water leak into your wall cavity.  There’s a good chance water has already made its way inside your wall cavity, but your insulation is soaking up all the evidence (i.e. the water) like a sponge.

Assuming the water hasn’t already seeped into your wall cavity, the weather conditions may be such that you have 12-24 hours before that water will get inside your home.  You needed a professional ice dam removal company yesterday.  You really need one now.

Although you should always take some amount of time to find a trustworthy, reputable ice dam removal company, don’t spend too long.  Time is not on your side.

Whether your threat-level is Green, Yellow, Orange, or Red, just remember…

…Should water leak (or continue to leak) inside your home or garage, your homeowner’s insurance may cover the leak damage to the interior of your home, but is unlikely to  cover any damage to your furniture, your new plasma TV, your computer, your family photos, etc.

Also, your insurance sure as thunder will not cover your inconvenience (like time away from work).

Do you want to spend the first half of your summer listening to hammering, nailing, and sawing on your home?   Do you want to share your living space, bathroom, and breathable air with contractors who may or may not have had a shower that month?

Let’s not forget about black mold and other problems that a leak inside your home could leave behind. Many times mold problems caused by leaks (e.g. soaked insulation) go undetected for years and years until someone in your family falls ill or you or doctor become suspicious of mold and start investigating.

Home is sacred.  Not only the stuff and structure of the home itself – which shields you and yours from the elements – but also your space and privacy.  You should look forward to coming home from work to a comfortable living space – even during a rough Minnesota winter, and especially after winter is over.

It’s hard to enjoy home life with plastic sheets, contractors, chunks of sheetrock, and invoices all over the place.

But I digress.  Back to icicles.  The takeaway is this: the bigger the icicle and the odder the place (like on your siding), the more likely it is you’ve got an ice dam emergency and need help fast.

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