I've lived in my house for 9.5 years, and originally had cheap mesh screens on the gutters. I would see maybe one or two icicles on the roof after a bad storm, but nothing serious.

A few years ago the screens collapsed from the weight of the leaves, so we replaced them with Gutterglove guards. We haven't had any major snowfall until this past week. Yesterday I noticed probably 2 dozen small (finger-sized) icicles on my roofline (it's a townhouse, so about a 20 foot wide section). My neighbors (with no guards or cheap guards similar to what I used to have) had 2-5 icicles.

My icicles were on the front lip of the gutter (away from my house). My neighbor without any guards had icicles between the house and the gutter, and my neighbor with guards hand them on the front lip (like mine).

Should I worry about ice dams with this number of icicles? Should I call the installation company?

  • I would worry if you are looking directly up at them. – DMoore Jan 24 '14 at 1:57

The icicles are caused by heat escaping from your house, into the attic. This melts the snow on your roof causing icicles. It has nothing to do with your gutters.

If you want to reduce or eliminate the icicles, the best thing you can do is add insulation to your attic and seal other means of air escaping (non-sealed recessed lights leak a lot of air).

If you would rather just tackle the ice dams then you might want to consider electric heating wires on the roof which will melt the ice and prevent it from freezing on the roof and gutters.

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