Why Do I Have Icicles on My House, but My Neighbors Don't?


While icicles can be beautiful, they can also be an indication that something may be wrong with your home. When icicles form, it can be a sign that ice dams are forming on your home’s roof.


What is an ice dam?

Ice dams form when snow melts from a higher spot on the roof. As the water runs down and freezes on the eave overhang or gutter, it forms a blockage that builds layers of ice. The build-up of ice can cause leaks, water damage, and roof damage if left unaddressed.


Why is ice build-up happening?

Ice build-up is due to insulation problems in your home. The heat in your home shouldn’t reach the attic; when it does, it causes the snow or ice on your roof to melt, water to flow down, and re-freeze on your gutters, chimney, skylights, and other areas.


What can I do to prevent ice on my house?

Conducting winter preparation on your home can be very helpful in preventing issues such as ice dams. Check your home’s insulation before winter hits. Your attic’s temperature should be cooler than your home to prevent melting of snow and ice, and proper insulation is the solution to monitoring your attic’s temperature.

Even with proper insulation, the problem may not be solved if your home isn’t properly ventilated. If you have an older home, it is likely that your home’s ventilation isn’t at the code requirements that newer homes must meet. Without proper ventilation, your attic will collect heat. If this is the case, call a professional and have them take a through look at your home’s insulation and ventilation.

Removing large amounts of snow as soon as possible from your roof can also be helpful in preventing ice dams from forming. In addition, keeping your gutters cared for and cleared will help water run off, rather than collect.


The Bottom Line

You won’t be able to completely eliminate icicles from forming on your home. Houses always have a few sources where heat escapes and causes snow to melt on your roof. However, it’s important to notice the size and amount of icicles that have formed on your home. If your home has substantially more icicles than any homes near you, you may need to have your attic and insulation inspected. There are also common areas from which heat escapes, such as plumbing stacks, bathrooms, chimneys, dryer vents, and skylights. These can all be sources of escaping heat that could cause ice build-up somewhere on your home.

Calling a professional to examine your home before winter is the best way to prevent problems when the cold weather hits. If your home is forming ice dams, it’s also best to call a professional to remove them and solve the problem. Improperly handling an ice dam situation can cause more damage rather than solve the problem.

For more tips on preparing your home for winter weather, download our free ebook!