Many residents of Ohio see long icicles hanging off roofs and think it is an unavoidable annoyance. It is common, it is more than annoying, but the good thing is that it is avoidable.

These long icicles likely are caused by ice dams that form by insufficient insulation and ineffective ventilation. As snow accumulates on roofs, heat loss through the attic melts the snow where it accumulates at the gutter and refreezes. There a dam forms made of ice.

Ice Dams form a wall of ice at the lowest point on the roof. Dams and Icicles form from lack of good ventilation and insulation.

The dam prevents the proper flow of run-off and backs up on the roof. This water will find its way into the path of least resistance, which is the big problem of ice dams. Since shingles are installed to control the flow in one direction down the slope the water will back flow into any open areas on the roof. You may notice dripping on the walls and ceilings where water is seeping into your home.

This can cause many problems including more maintenance issues for you and possible molding in the home. The water seepage can destroy insulation and cause structural damage by rotting wood.

Water from Ice Dams find the path of least resistance. Damage to your home appears as wood separation, pealing wallpaper, and water seepage.

You may think it is common and unavoidable because you can spot many ice dams as you drive down the road. This is particularly true in older housing developments where building codes did not require the amount of attic insulation that is necessary to prevent ice dams.

This problem can be avoided with proper insulation and ventilation. Building codes in Ohio are now requiring an attic R-value of 49, even up to R-60, which is equivalent to 20 inches of Owens Corning AttiCat blown-in insulation. Roof joist baffles will help with ventilation. Taking these measures will also play a significant role in reducing your heating bills, as much as 20 percent. Invest in insulation now and you can also take advantage of the 30% tax credit through the Federal government, up to $1,500.

Prevention is the best solution. This winter has wreaked havoc on Ohio homeowners and many websites offer temporary solutions to the problem. If you have ice dams please note that it is dangerous to get on your roof with ice and snow. Attempting to chisel out the ice could cause damage to your home. Fix the problem and not the symptoms for a healthy and more energy efficient home.