Icicles: Get them before they get you!

It’s that kind of weather. Lots of melting and refreezing, perfect for the formation of massive icicles that will eventually crash to the ground, shattering. But that’s not the only way icicles can cause damage. Icicles can also curve inward towards a building, damaging siding or breaking windows.

The damage a falling icicle can do is fairly straight forward. It’s a function of the force they hit with, which is in turn determined by the size of the icicle and the height it falls from. Falling icicles are a danger to anyone they strike. The risk is for bruising, broken bones, and even death. No solid numbers for the number of falling icicle related deaths, but it is decidedly possible, if rare.

The more insidious form of harm comes as they slide off of a roof and curve inward. The warmth being given off by the house causes melting below the surface of the snow atop the roof. The water freezes, leaving a sheet of solid ice on the roof.

Icicles descending and surrounding an outside light- this is last year’s photo, I have since grown wiser to the ways of icicles and do not allow them to progress so far.

Another day with temperatures warm enough for melting, and there’s a bit of water below that ice sheet. It slides. Gradually, in increments, the ice sheet makes its way off the roof. Icicles, which had previously hung straight down begin to curve.

This week’s observation of icicles beginning to turn inward

This can be bad news for the side of the house, and worse news for windows and outside lights. Yes, icicles can break windows! I came home from work one day to an unexpected break.

The best strategy for preventing this is not to allow the icicles anywhere near your windows. If you’ve a place where icicles tend to curl inward, threatening delicate structures, remove them. I recommend knocking them off with a long pole, so that you can stand at a safe distance and not below them when they fall.

Icicles present a hazard to windows and siding, and to anyone/anything under them. For looming icicles that are regularly walked under, pick a time when the area is clear, stand a safe distance away, and take them out.

Icicles. You have to get them before they get you.