Icicles: they may look beautiful in winter wonderland photographs but in reality, they are annoying and when in the wrong places (such as gutters), they need to be removed safely and effectively.
Why are icicles dangerous?
Cute little icicles don’t really pose a threat, however, when icicles become extremely large, this is when the likelihood of a serious accident (unfortunately sometimes fatal) may occur. These accidents may happen in a number of situations. For example, when the weather warms up, melting pieces of the icicle sections or entire icicles fall down and can hit people, their cars and more.
The force and weight of these large icicles is enormous, meaning the damage they can cause is excessively dangerous. Icicle removal can also become dangerous if not carried out correctly. There are a number of safety factors one needs to consider when removing icicles from their gutters and buildings, these include slippery surfaces and falling icicles. We’ve listed ways to remove icicles safely below.
Please, whatever you do this winter, take care and caution, assess your own icicle situation thoroughly before starting and if you’re still not sure, seek professional help.
If you have a particularly large amount of icicles hanging from the roof of your house, there could be dozens of reasons as to why this is. If you inspected your house before the harshest part of winter hit and saw no problems, that’s fantastic. However, there are still ways you can prevent these large icicles from forming on your gutters next time.
The main way is to eliminate snow from your roof. If you remove large snowfall from your roof, the occurrence of icicles appearing is greatly reduced. This is because the snow that would usually melt and refreeze as it drips down (as icicles) has gone. If you decide to do this the next time it snows, please take extra care and do your research when removing the snow from the roof of your house.
Another top tip for icicle prevention is to check your loft insulation before winter. Properly insulated lofts save money throughout winter because they create warm and cozy houses. Another positive outcome of effective loft insulation is the prevention of icicles. This is due to less heat escaping from holes in your insulation (or no insulation at all), and if less heat escapes, less snow on your roof is being melted and refrozen into pesky icicles.
Safe Icicle Removal
It is fair to say that sometimes even prevention doesn’t 100% work, plus sometimes we just forget or do not have the time to stop troublesome icicles from forming on gutters, window panes and more. At times like this, you need effective icicle removal systems and tips.
Get a Good Grip
Before you try tackling any unwanted icicles from your home, you should first make sure that you can keep your balance on the area around your home. Surfaces outside can become very dangerous to walk on and the last thing you want to be doing is sliding around the place when removing icicles from the ground. The best way to do this is by ensuring your footwear has good grip and by putting down rock salt to melt away large and slippery patches of ice.
When you do this, make sure you never stand directly underneath or anywhere near an area where an icicle could fall and hit you. Safety needs to come first, no matter what.
Knock Them Away
The quickest and most convenient way to remove icicles is to knock them away using a large pole. As stated above, if you do this, please exercise caution. Do not stand where the icicles could hit you as you could end up in a lot of pain and cause yourself damage. It is also worth noting that if the area you live in suffers from extreme bouts of coldness and frost, your entire guttering may be frozen.
In these situations, only gently tap away icicles because if you get a little bit carried away, you could end up breaking off sections of your guttering, which will cause you even bigger problems and cost you more money further down the line.
After you’ve safely knocked down the icicles, be sure to remove them from the area. If left in front and behind your home, they may defrost and frost over again, creating more slippery patches you’re likely to fall on.
Stop Ice Dams from Forming
Icicles can happen in many situations, however, if an ice dam forms, the chance of icicles forming is greatly increased. So, what exactly is an ice dam? An ice dam is a large chunk or ridge or ice that forms in your gutters. The chunk of ice prevents excess water from draining off through your gutter properly, which ultimately leads to big icicles being formed. Therefore, one simple way to stop these icicles being formed is by stopping ice dams from forming. There are numerous ways to prevent these ice dams from forming; one popular way is to invest in an ice dam tablet: a product designed to dissolve ice dams without the use of harmful products.
Buy a Snow Rake
Snow rakes and roof rakes are a great way to brush off any unwanted snow and ice from your roof. If you decide to use this method, do so gently (you don’t want to break any of your roof or guttering) and as always, ensure your footing is secure.
Don’t stand too close to your home when you’re removing any snow and ice from your rooftops (you don’t want anything to come off and cause you any damage). Once you’ve removed the snow from your house, make sure you shovel enough away for you to walk to and from your home properly and remove large parts of ice that may have come down so that you and your family members do not slip on them.
Fill a permeable sack of some kind with salt and place it where the ice is building up on your roof (if you need to use a ladder, please make sure that the ground is safe enough to support the ladder, i.e it’s not going to slip on the wet and/or icy ground when you climb up). The ice bag will melt away a considerable amount of the issue. However, some users of the method do not recommend this way because it is only a short-term fix and quite often doesn’t work as effectively as one hoped it would.
Installing heated cables is one way to keep snow and ice from forming into huge icicles and ice dams, however, if this is the option you want to go for, it can be quite dangerous. Winter is wet, cold and slippery. These things should NOT be mixed with electricity, especially if you are not a professional. If you are still set on installing heated cables, make sure that you do so safely and with the help of another. If in doubt, always ask for professional assistance.
Leave It to the Professionals
There are so many factors you need to consider when removing icicles and ice dams from your home. These vary depending on the condition of your house, the weather in your area, how well you’ve prepared for the winter months, and more. In complicated situations and if you have the slightest doubt you are not capable of safely removing the icicles from your house, you should seek professional help. Professionals always consider the above factors and will find a simple, effective and most importantly, a safe solution for you. Get in touch with your local ice removal company to discuss the best option for your situation.
Removing icicles is a tricky task and it is one that changes from year to year. The best solution to large and dangerous icicles is to keep an eye out as soon as the fall weather starts to change into the bitterly cold season we all know and love so much: winter. As soon as winter hits, inspect your house as often as possible to reduce the risk of ice dam and icicle build up. We understand that this may seem like a lot of effort but in the long run it will save you time, money and the hassle and stress of icicles.