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The Dangers of Ice Dams

Ice Dams and Icicles Forming on The Gutters of a House | K-Guard St. Louis

Ice dams are a surprisingly common issue for many homeowners in the St. Louis area. Any time we experience winter weather with precipitation nearly every home is at risk of forming ice dams depending on a few factors like the type of gutter system installed on the home and their home’s insulation.

Do you know how dangerous ice dams can be? They pose a risk to your family’s health and safety and they can cause extensive damage to your home. Keep reading to learn about the dangers of ice dams and how you can prevent them.

What are Ice Dams?

Before we discuss the dangers of ice dams, let’s first explain what ice dams are. They’re large, thick pieces of ice that form around the edges of a sloped roof. Ice dams form as a result of heat produced from inside a house that escapes and melts accumulated snow on a roof. When an ice dam forms, meltwater has nowhere to drain so it’s continually freezing, melting, and refreezing. 

They’re fairly common especially in an area like St. Louis where the daytime highs during winter are often higher than freezing but the evening lows can hover around or dip below freezing. The higher temperatures allow any existing snow or ice on the roof to melt and drain into the gutter system and the evening lows that hover or dip below 32° freeze the meltwater that’s left in the gutters. This pattern happens often, resulting in those thick, dangerous pieces of ice.

Dangers of Ice Dams


The worst thing about ice dams is the threat they pose to your loved ones. They’re thick, heavy pieces of ice – if chunks of the ice were to break off and fall onto someone then they could have a serious injury from heavy, sharp ice. The last thing you want is an ice dam to accidentally injure a loved one, yourself, or any guest.


When an ice dam forms around the edge of a sloped roof, it impedes the water flow in the gutter system. When meltwater can’t drain from the roof into the gutter system as a result of an ice dam then that meltwater has no choice but to remain on the roof. If the ice dam isn’t removed quickly then the meltwater that’s left to sit on the roof will most likely cause roof leaks.

When water is left to sit on a roof then it can cause damage to the shingle, causing it to warp and lift, allowing meltwater to trickle under the shingle and into the roof underlayment and ultimately causing interior leaks in your home. Interior leaks can be a costly repair depending on the severity of the leak and the damage to the roof.

Possible Mold

When moisture from an ice dam enters the home, there’s a possibility that mold will form. When a roof leaks as mentioned above, the moisture inside of the home could grow mold. Mold can cause respiratory issues for everyone in the home. These respiratory problems could be life-threatening, especially to those who have asthma or other preexisting respiratory diseases. It’s crucial to contact a mold inspection service the second you find signs of mold in your home. They can safely test the mold and remove it.

Reduced Effectiveness of Insulation

As previously mentioned, ice dams form as a result of heat produced from inside a house that escapes and melts the accumulated snow on a roof. When an attic isn’t properly insulated then more heat will escape, causing it to melt the snow on a roof, resulting in ice dams. Likewise, if an ice dam does form on a roof and it isn’t removed then it’ll eventually melt, causing some water to seep into the home’s insulation ultimately reducing its effectiveness. You’ll want to ensure your home’s attic is properly insulated to prevent ice dams from forming.

Ice dams are a headache for homeowners. Not only are they a pain to remove as well as an eyesore, but they pose many dangers like possible injuries, roof leaks, mold, and they reduce the effectiveness of a home’s insulation.

There are a couple of things you can do to help prevent ice dams from forming. For one, have a professional inspect your home’s insulation to ensure heat isn’t escaping from the attic. Next, install a quality gutter system that helps prevent ice dams like the K-Guard Leaf Free Gutter System.

The K-Guard Gutter System can withstand all weather conditions including snowstorms and ice storms, aiding in preventing ice from building up on roofs. Our complete gutter system has a curved hood that ensures leaves, snow, ice, and pests simply slide off rather than accumulate along the edge of the roof or enter the gutter system. This helps prevent ice dams from ever forming, protecting your home and your loved ones. In addition, our gutter system is so durable that it will never sag or pull away from the home, something other gutter systems can’t promise.

Traditional sectional gutter systems, gutter screens, and filters don’t prevent ice dams from forming. Snow and ice can still enter the gutter system, resulting in the possibility for ice dams to form.

We offer free in-home estimates that include a detailed analysis of your current gutter system along with estimated costs for installing your K-Guard Gutter System. K-Guard proudly offers our gutter installation service to homeowners in St. Louis and surrounding areas including, but not limited to, the following locations:

We look forward to helping you prevent ice dams from forming on your home this winter!


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