With the way the weather has been changing so much lately in WNY, we are seeing a bunch of icicles.  So how do you handle them...safely?

When you lose heat through your roof it often creates an icy situation.  While icicles can look pretty, they can also be very damaging to your house...and dangerous for you.

Have you seen this type of situation at your house this year?  The ice starts small but then within a day or two, you've got chunks of ice hanging from your house that weigh a ton and are just waiting to plummet to the ground.

So how can you avoid the icicles?  And if you get them, what do you do to safely remove them?

One of the biggest reasons people get icicles (especially here in WNY) is the escape of heat through the roof.  When that heat melts the snow that is sitting on the roof, it will run down to the gutter where it will gather.  If the weather is still below freezing, that melted snow then turns to ice...and boom...icicles.

While you can't always avoid them altogether, insulation in your house can help.  A well-insulated attic or roof can help to keep that heat in the house and away from the snow on your roof.

Cleaning your gutters can also help.  If they're packed full of leaves, the water can't drain like it's supposed to.  That's where the ice will gather.  Make sure those gutters are cleaned in the fall so the gutters can do what they're supposed to in the winter.

Remove snow with a roof rake before it gathers.  The less snow there is on the roof, the less you have to melt and create those icicles.

Ok...but you get the icicles anyway.  How do you deal with them?

1.  Never stand under them.  They can be heavier than they look.  If they fall on you, they can cause some bodily harm...and could actually be lethal.

2.  Get a professional (a roofing company or gutter installation company) to remove the really big ones and ones that are too high for you to reach.  They will know how to remove them without causing damage to your home.

3.  Do not climb onto a roof that is covered with ice.  Obviously, that could cause you to slip and fall.

4.  Never lean a ladder up against a gutter that has heavy ice buildup.  The weight of the ladder and the ice could cause the gutters to break and cause more damage to your home.

5.  If you are going to try to knock them down yourself, be sure to use a wooden pole that is long enough so that you are not standing under them when they fall.  Just tap them.  Do not hit them hard.

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