Those lovely icicles that hang down around your house in the winter, like little swords that shine and sparkle in the sunlight, may conceal real hidden dangers.

Ice dams are formed when the snow on your house melts and ice builds up at the edges of the roof and in the gutters. Heat from inside your home and from the sun melts the snow on the upper roof and dormers. The water runs down the roof until it reaches the subfreezing air around the gutters. Once the gutters are full of ice, the water overflows, creating the icicles you see hanging off the gutters.

Hidden Damage

The trapped water, unfortunately, goes the other way as well, and is pushed up under the roof shingles. There it gradually seeps through the roof into the insulation. Eventually, this water starts to drip through the ceiling and down into the walls and electrical outlets.

Mold and Mildew

Water that enters your home from the ice dams results in the growth of mold and mildew which can cause structural damage and respiratory problems. It is very important to prevent the growth of mold and mildew, or to take remedial steps when it occurs to protect your home’s air quality. Mold grows very quickly, so any parts of the house that are wet or damp should be dried out immediately.


Ice dams can be prevented, or at least reduced, by keeping your gutters and down spouts clear of debris. It is also important to make sure the attic or roof is insulated properly. Professionally installed insulation not only saves money on heating bills, it also helps reduce the risk of ice dams building up and water seepage problems.

If you think you may have water damage problems, ServiceMaster by the Border can help. Our specialists are trained in mold assessment and identifying water damage, and use the latest techniques for drying and restoration to protect your home from damage.