Here's why the icicles hanging from your house are a bad thing

Melting snow is causing headaches for homeowners across Windsor-Essex, including ice dams that can damage shingles — or worse.

You can be sued if an icicle falls from your home and causes an injury

Large icicles caused by ice dams can lead to water damage in homes. (Dale Molnar/CBC)

Are icicles hanging from your eavestrough?

Melting snow is causing headaches for homeowners across Windsor-Essex, including ice dams that can damage shingles — or worse.

An ice dam is a ridge of ice that creates a wall that keeps water from draining off roofs, allowing it to seep under shingles and cause damage to walls, ceilings and insulation.

"Typically it's caused from heat loss in the roof assembly itself, which creates ice building along the eaves when it refreezes," explained David Rauth, president of Rauth Roofing.

"We recommend a heat trace, which is a wire ... that's plugged into an external outlet, which provides heat to prevent ice from forming," he added.

David Rauth, president of Rauth Roofing, said homeowners should seek professional help to remove snow and ice from their eavestrough. (Dale Molnar/CBC)

Steeper, sloped roofs allow water to run off, but less pitched roofs can allow snow to accumulate and increase the risk of ice dams.

Roof rakes, which extend to allow homeowners to knock off snow, are one option, but Rauth recommends you get a professional to do it if you have to get up on a ladder.

Tajinder Gogna is a personal injury lawyer with Diamond and Diamond and said homeowners can be sued for pain and suffering and loss of work for injuries from falling ice.

But he also had a note to anyone thinking of suing — if you saw the icicle and still went under it you might not be successful in court.

Gogna recommended people remove icicles so they don't hurt anyone. Dripping water off them can also cause ice build up on your driveway or sidewalk, which is also dangerous.

He added insurance only covers claims by visitors and not by people who live in the house.