Ice Dams & Icicles: Lovely to Look at, But Watch Out Below

Many of the most beautiful things in nature can have a dangerous side, and icicles are no exception. Those glittering shafts make a pretty picture in the sunlight, but things can get ugly in a hurry when they start causing injuries and other problems. Let’s take a look at the risks presented by these hardened chunks of frozen runoff — and what you can do about it.

A Natural Threat

Icicles are spawned by ice collected on tree limbs roofs, gutters, and other suspended objects. Sunlight shining down on the ice can raise its temperature just enough to initiate melting. Water rolls down the surface and begins dripping from it. But the temperature in the open air is still below freezing, so without the extra thermal energy from concentrated sun exposure the water re-freezes in mid-drip. The result is an elongated cone of ice with a sharp, pointed end. The right conditions can cause your trees or the sides of your roof to collect a veritable showroom of icicles large and small, hanging in impressive sheets that make you run for your camera.


Ice dams
So you can take pictures like this one.


The problem with icicles is that they can break and fall, either through the natural melting process, by being jarred or jostled, or for no apparent reason whatsoever. There’s really no predicting when an icicle will decide to plunge to the ground — and that’s what makes them so dangerous. A heavy icicle can cause serious injuries to anyone standing underneath. If you’re looking upward at the time, the pointed end of an icicle could easily blind you.

Icicles also cause structural damage to inanimate objects. Have you ever seen a tree branch pulled to the ground or snapped off by the weight of its icy burden? Your roof and gutters may undergo the same degree of structural stress if they’re supporting massive icicles or ice dams (blocks of frozen water clogging the gutter). Don’t be surprised if winter’s passage leaves you with a big repair bill!

A Simple Solution

What can you do to keep yourself, your family, and your possessions safe from icicles? Well, icicles hanging from trees are pretty much unavoidable, so you’ll simply have to maintain a safe distance from them. Icicles hanging from roof gutters, on the other hand, can be prevented entirely. By keeping a gutter’s surface temperature above freezing, you make it impossible for falling water to harden into icicles. The easiest and most efficient way to achieve this goal is by installing a heat gutter guard such as the Moonworks Heated Helmet. These gutter guards not only help keep water in its liquid state during those frigid winters, but they also hang over the lip of the roof to prevent dirt and debris from clogging up the gutter the rest of the year.


Ice dams
If you like your water to stay wet, you’ll like the Heated Helmet!


Protect yourself from the danger that lurks above when the temperature drops. Make your roof icicle-free by calling Moonworks at 1-800-975-6666 for your very own Heated Helmet. It’s a cool way to keep your gutters warm!

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