We’ve all got fond memories from childhood of walking past a row of icicles on a fence or roof with an outstretched arm, knocking them down as we went. But while icicles may present warm memories or act is beautiful icons of the winter season, they can also pose a serious risk to the safety of both people and property if left unchecked.
Icicles are formed when dripping water falling from a roof or other object freezes. Over time, continued dripping leads to ice buildup and icicles grow. The bigger an icicle gets, the heavier it gets, and the greater the threat that it might fall. Of particular concern are icicles which form from the edges of homes and other buildings.
It seems that the primary victims of falling icicles aren’t people, but their cars. Multiple cases are on record of icicles falling from tall buildings and damaging the cars parked below. If you park at all underneath your home’s eaves, you’ll be putting your vehicle at risk. Icicles can also lead to ice dams, resulting in costly water damage to your home.
While rare, injuries resulting from falling icicles aren’t unheard of. “I am certain there have been injuries and fatalities from icicles falling from buildings,” says Richard Armstrong of the National Snow and Ice Data Center. In fact, about 15 people die every year in the United States from icicles, with statistics for non-lethal injuries unavailable.
It’s not a new problem: a popular bit of folklore from 18th Century England tells of a young parish clerk’s son who was killed by an icicle falling from a church steeple. The tragic death was then commemorated with this poem engraved in a memorial at the church: “Bless my eyes / Here he lies / In a sad pickle / Kill’d by an icicle.”
The best solution to the hazards caused by winter icicles is prevention. The best tool of prevention is a properly insulated roof – heat loss is a leading cause of snow and ice melt that contributes to icicles. If the icicles are already there, then it’s time to get rid of them. While some people opt to use a roof rake or even a kitchen broom to knock icicles down, this can lead to home damage or personal injury; it’s best to call in a professional snow and ice removal service to avoid potential accidents.
If you’re in Connecticut, call CT Gutter. We’re experts in safely and efficiently removing risky snow and ice, protecting your home from damage and the people close to you from injury.