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What immediate safety hazards do ice dams pose?

Updated: May 23, 2023

Ice Does Damage

There is no doubt about that. On your roof, it can tear off the gutters, loosen the shingles, and cause water to seep into the home, ruin the roof, and the flooring, if any, in the attic or crawlspace, and then the ceiling of the living space.

Ice dams in the sewer system will cause the sewers in the immediate area, and outward depending on the extent of the dam, to stop working and back up human waste into houses and neighborhoods.

Ice dams take an extraordinary amount of time to melt. An ice dam on your roof, if not taken care of, can cause mold to grow on the wet wood and anything that remains wet, such as clothes, blankets, etc.

Injuries to People and Pets

An ice dam weighs much more than it looks. Sometimes, it can weigh as much as a car. If the ice dam breaks free, it can crush anyone and anything under it. Besides the weight of the dam itself, the snow and water that had been backed up behind the dam could break free and cause even more damage.

Often, when a large ice dam breaks free, it pulls the gutter down with it. The gutter could break a window and cause injury to people that are inside the structure.

In extreme situations, the ice dam could even cause the roof to collapse, causing injury to people and pets under the roof.

Look Out Below!

Those pretty icicles hanging from your roof could be a sign that massive sheets of ice are forming under your shingles and around your overhangs.

When the weather warms up, or the ice blocks no longer have an anchor, these heavy chunks of ice could fall from your roof and hit your loved ones or pets, resulting in broken bones and other serious injuries.

Moreover, all of the extra weight (we’re talking thousands of pounds) from that ice and snow just piling up could cause your roof to collapse entirely. Eliminate this hazard by donning some insulated roofing gloves and removing the ice, starting with blocks around your overhangs and gutters.

Ice Dams Are Hazardous to Your Health, Wallet

Ice damming along the side of your home can be hazardous to your wallet, and especially your life. For one, when they’re too heavy they can fall and impale passers-by, which can result in concussions or worse.

When they drop or are heavy enough to weigh down the eaves, it can also lay the groundwork for metal shrapnel to fall on someone during inclement weather.

Ice damming points to insulation and heating problems present in the attic or garret. It shows that there is heat escaping from the roof of the home, which may also mean that moisture has an entryway into the home. Should moisture collect and harbor on the insulation within the ceiling, then mold may develop in the home. Mold can trigger or exacerbate respiratory conditions such as asthma and can be expensive to clean up.

Matthias Alleckna, Energy Analyst at

Ice Dams Invite Mold

Since most ice dams accumulate on the edge of the roof as the snow melts, they can potentially result in damages both on the roof and to your home. This is because the ice build-up can prevent water from draining properly, potentially causing a leak into your home. A safety hazard that can arise is mold growth due to the moisture presence. Mold exposure is a health hazard that can trigger respiratory issues like asthma.


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