Safely Removing Icicles From Your Home - NYCM Insurance Blog

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Dec 19, 2018

Safely Removing Icicles From Your Home

Although sometimes long lasting and bitter, wintertime in NY is rather picturesque. Just imagine the old farm house blanketed in white snow and lined with icicles — it looks beautiful to a passerby, but as the homeowner, you know you’ve got a lot of work to do to ensure safety.

Depending on both the angle and material of your roof you may accumulate mounds of snow and icicles around the edges. Removing the snow and ice is incredibly important for both your safety and anyone else who may be entering or exiting your home. The last thing you want is your mailman to be struck or impaled by an icicle you hadn’t yet removed. Not to mention, icicles are a sign of poor water runoff, likely from an ice dam which could result in trapped water causing roof or wall damage to your home. As you can see, you’ll want to remove the ice dam as quickly as possible. Follow these steps to do so safely:

  1. Always have a spotter or second person nearby as you’ll likely need a ladder. You’ll also want to warn those Inside the home to avoid the windows and walking outside at this time as ice may be falling. You’ll need to start by removing snow from the roof using a roof rake. Avoid using a shovel or brush as these tools may cause damage to the roofing material. You’ll want all of the snow 3-4 feet up from the gutter removed.
  2. Once the snow has been removed from the roof you’ll want to take tarps and cover any plants or shrubbery below the gutters. This will help protect them from falling ice and the ice melt chemical.
  3. Next you’ll take a nylon stocking and fill it with ice melt (calcium chloride) which you can likely find at your local hardware store. Make sure you don’t accidentally use sodium chloride as it can melt or damage your roof or gutters. Next take the filled stocking and place it atop the ice-filled gutter.
  4. The calcium chloride will melt the ice in the gutter, creating a channel and the icicles will fall off and your water runoff will be restored.

You’ll want to remember, however, that this is purely a temporary solution. The main reason your home is forming ice dams is because the house is not air tight with proper ventilation. The key to preventing ice dams is keep your roof cool, which means proper insulation in your attic.

Keep a close eye on your home this winter to notice any forming ice dams and remove them quickly before they result in potential internal and external damage to your home. Whenever you can- have your home inspected for insulation weaknesses, as this will prevent future ice dams.