By John Lauritsen

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Experts say it’s been four years since we’ve seen an ice dam problem like the one we’re having this winter.

Icicles that can be several inches to several feet long are a sign an ice dam has formed on your rooftop.

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That means water is backing up under your shingles, and it can then leak into your home causing damage.

“I would say that’s about close to a foot thick from the bottom of the gutter to the top of the ice,” said Dan Atchison during a visit to an Edina home.

The icicles he’s talking about are both picturesque and problematic. A spike in calls over the last few days has companies like Ice Dam Guys moving from one call to the next.

“Right now it’s dripping, but all this dripping right now is going to freeze. These icicles will be another 6 inches to a foot longer tomorrow,” said Atchison.

The reason has to do with snow melting high on the roof, then coming down to the edge and re-freezing. Warmer winter weather after heavy snow is to blame.

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“That’s what we call the perfect storm and that’s what we are seeing here,” said Steve Kuhl.

Kuhl is with the Ice Dam Company. They’re battling the freeze with heat. Three hundred degree steam to be exact.

“He’s steaming this area specifically to A, remove the ice dam. And B, prepare it to receive this commercial grade heat tape,” said Kuhl while watching one of his employees work on a Bloomington home.

The tape will help keep dams from forming. But in some cases, ice dams can also mean there are insulation and ventilation issues — or too much heat getting into your attic.

“Those are the three legs to the stool so to speak of what causes ice dams,” said Kuhl.

And they are all things that homeowner Jon Wallace will keep in mind. So far he’s been lucky that water has stayed on the outside of his home.

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“This is a first and I think it’s because of the unusual weather we’ve had,” said Wallace.

John Lauritsen