OTTAWA COUNTY, Mich. – It’s a common sight during a West Michigan winter: houses blanketed in snow, with long crystals of ice framing the rooftops.
It may look pretty, but the icicles are heavy with jagged edges, and some experts say what’s hidden under the snow can be even more dangerous.
“You’ve got hundreds of pounds of snow and ice that are ready to collapse,” says Eric Snyder of All American Remodeling as he examines a home. “Look at the overhang, how the ice and snow is literally a foot to two beyond the gutter.”
They call it ice damming – when the snow on your roof melts, fills the gutter, then freezes again, causing a backup of ice that spreads over the shingles.
Snyder says when temperatures get above freezing, it doesn’t take much to send these blades of ice plummeting to the ground.
“If somebody were to use this door,” Snyder says, pointing to a thick icicle right by the front entrance, “with the vibrations from the house, if that came down on you, it could do some serious damage.”
But it’s not just icicles that are dangerous to people and pets, huge chucks of ice can be hidden under the snow; pulling at the structure and even lowering the value of your home.
“(If moisture) gets down and into the wood structure into the insulation, then(it) begins to stain or cause mold and ruin drywall.”
Fixing that can cost thousands of dollars come spring time, so a little prevention goes a long way, but be careful.
“That’s a good 15 to 20 pounds right there,” says crew member Jason Ellison holding a block of ice that came down from the roof. “The serious thing is (this ice chuck has) got sharp points on it.”
He adds that if you get help clearing your roof from a friend or neighbor, you could be liable if they get hurt – just another reason to leave the ice and snow removal to the pros. Snyder says prices at All American Remodeling can start around $100.
All American Remodeling: 877-594-7573