Problems With Icicles


Snow/Ice dams reveals potential roof damage and problems…and yes, it was a brutal winter!

Although wintertime home inspections have little to no roof visibility due to snow cover, wintertime can reveal other issues that would be unknown during summer weather. (There are always challenges during home inspections here in northeast Ohio!) Many inspections this past winter showed major icicles and ice dams that can lead to roof leaks and potentially damage to the interiors of homes.

The general cause of ice buildup is heat loss in the attic space coupled with poor ventilation. For more information on what causes ice dams, check out this explanation of ice dams from the University of Minnesota.

Causes of icicles can include:

  • Lack of proper ventilation (i.e. lack of gable vents, roof vents, soffit/ridge vents, etc.)
  • Blocked ventilation points
  • Marginal insulation or lack of sufficient insulation
  • HVAC/forced air ducts running through the attic space
  • Solar radiation

Repairs & Upgrades:

  • increase ventilation, consider installing a powered attic fan
  • reduce heat loss from the interior
  • install additional insulation
  • install electrical heat cable/zig-zag cable

As always, it is recommended to consult a licensed contractor for repairs.

Happy Spring,


2 Responses to Problems With Icicles

  1. Dave and Candy McKinnon says:

    Thank you Aaron! I will print this and put it in a 3-ring binder I made for my future house.* We want to take your suggestion of converting our wood-burning fireplace into a gas one. But Dave and I have 2 questions: 1. Do we need to have it cleaned by a chimney sweep first? 2. Who would you recommend to do this job? Thanks again for all your insights and advice!!! Candy McKinnon

    • Aaron Branem says:

      Hi Candy, thanks so much for your questions! I think this conversation will be easier in person or via phone, so I’ll give you my answers offline. Talk to you soon, Aaron

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