Why Icicles on Your Roof Are a Sign You Need Attic Insulation
They’re a hallmark of winter of days past; icicles, hanging from gutters and roofs. Icicles, beautiful as they are, can be a sign that your house is having insulation issues that can be damaging your shingles and causing water damage in your house. This might seem a little crazy, given that you only see icicles hanging from the sides of houses, but the process in forming those icicles is the real problem for your roof and house.
When snow accumulates on your roof, the snow directly touching the roof may melt if the insulation of your house is poor. This melting snow trickles down to the bottom of your roof or gutters, where the surface temperature returns to freezing. The water then refreezes, causing the visible icicles that you see off the side of your house, but also causing ice to freeze in your shingles. This can also form an ice dam that prevents future melting snow from reaching the edge of the roof, causing the water to refreeze in your shingles and roofing material.
Why Icicles are Really Bad for Your Roof
This penetration of the roofing material causes the leaky roofs and damage to roof surfaces that you see after the snow completely melts. Removing the icicles does nothing to remove the ice dams and can actually be dangerous, as breaking off the icicles may cause a cascade of snow or ice to fall on you without actually removing the ice dam beneath the roofing material. You can use expensive heat tape or hire professionals to steam out the ice or use a roof rake to clear the snow and ice.
But the best solution to preventing icicles and ice dams is to upgrade or replace your existing attic insulation. By curbing the heat loss through your roof, you no longer have the melting snow on the base of the roof, and you also keep your heating costs down by keeping all your heat inside your house, where it belongs. Icicles are pretty. But they’re also a pretty sure sign of a home in need of an insulation makeover.