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Icicles?

So, reacting to Dusty's suggestion #1 to my question #4, I called David Lee - who owns and operates David B. Lee & Company, a construction business headquartered on Pork Street in Skaneateles. Along with new construction, Lee has had a lot of experience with restoration, most notably the Sherwood Inn, which often sports some pretty hefty icicles.

He said that winters such as this one with constant light fluffy snow, and with sustained snow and cold, are perfect for icicle production. If a structure is experiencing heat loss, the heat will come up and actually melt the base of the snow sitting on one's roof, while the snow on top actually acts as insulation aiding in the whole process.

"Winters like this one," he said, "with light fluffy snow, it melts it faster underneath."

And it's not necessarily whether your structure was insulated, but how it was insulated. This is called the stack effect where warm air rises -it finds its way into these gaps - so, it's more the air flow than the insulation.

There is also ice damming. This is when the ice builds up on the roof and the water running down puddles at the eve, and can back up and come inside. This is when it is important to get that snow and ice of the roof, which unfortunately can also be a dangerous process.

Lee said that up until the last 20 years insulation practices were often poorly executed. In addition, older homes are often beyond the point of adding insulation, as it is difficult to insulate an existing structure. Today, most new homes have ventilation mechanisms that take away the heat that used to help in icicle formation.

The ultimate solution is new construction or a melt, such as with the milder weather we are experiencing this week.

"It is extremely dangerous removing icicles," Lee said, "If there is a break in the weather they'll reduce themselves."

But also when you need to reroof there are steps homeowners can take at that time to prevent this kind of ice damage.

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