Spike in Icicles Can Damage Your Home

By Erika Mahoney

January 4, 2013 Updated Jan 5, 2013 at 12:21 AM EDT

Binghamton, NY (WBNG Binghamton) Are icicles dangling from your roof?

They may look like a pretty winter accessory, especially sparkling in the sunlight, but they can be destructive.

"The main concern is that people are having damage done to the inside of their homes due to the ice creating dams on the roof and not allowing the water to flow off the roof," said President of Binghamton Slag Roofing, Charles Griffith. "So, the water enters the building and causes water damage."

Griffiths said so far, this winter has created ideal conditions for icicles.

"Last year we got virtually no calls because we had such a mild winter," he said. "Now that we've got a heavier snow that is staying on the roofs longer, and the temperature is about right, at freezing or just below, we are starting to get quite a few ice back up calls."

Like a call for an entire apartment complex in Ithaca.

Griffiths said customers often think removing all of the ice is necessary to stop water damage, but he said that's not true.

"All we do is cut channels through the ice. It's like breaking up the dam, we allow water to flow off the roof," he said. "We will typically identify what the problem is, cut channels in the roof, put an ice melt compound in those channels to allow them to stay open and that will normally resolve ice back up leaks."

But, the work is dangerous.

"We put a ladder up, and we stress the safety of it," said BSR Repair Crew Member Brandon Benjamin. "We have to go up with a two man crew as a safety precaution. So if one falls, someone else can call."

The work can also be expensive, ranging anywhere from $100 to $1,000.

Fortunately, there are tools made for preventing an ice build up, like the snow rake. It helps remove snow from roofs.

"That's for people who might be concerned about the weight of the snow on the roof," said Griffiths. "Some people elect to purchase one of those snow rakes, to remove the snow so ice dams aren't formed."

Crews recommend moving the snow at least six feet off the eve to stop the ice from forming.

If you have heavy icicles over entryways, it's important to remove those so they don't fall and injure anyone.