Facility Dude

Removing icicles from your facility: Part I

By FacilityDude
Jan 10, 2014

Facilities Management

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They look so pretty hanging from your gutters, but don't be fooled by their wintry charm - icicles are a dangerous development. It's time that you take icicles into your own hands and get involved with some serious seasonal building maintenance. Here's the first installment of a two-part look at how to get rid of pesky ice.

An icy issue

icicles People aren't getting hit with icicles all the time. However, it does happen, and when it does, the situation is not pretty. Fox 13 in Salt Lake City reported epically sized icicles almost as big as human beings around town. Mail Carrier Anna Bazan told the news station that she was almost struck by one, but stepped to the side the last minute. However, not as many people are as lucky as Bazan.

In 2010, the city of St. Petersburg seemed to be under siege by the icy daggers, with 150 people injured by dropping icicles, some of whom were even hospitalized, according to The Telegraph. The Atlantic Cities chronicled the history of man's battle with icicles in Chicago, citing year after year of unfortunate people at the wrong time.

Icicles, and the responsibility of clearing them should not be taken lightly. St. Petersburg's governor, Valentina Matviyenko, apparently fired no less than 11 officials because they did not clear the city's streets and rooftops of snow and ice, The Telegraph reported. While you may not be responsible for a size of the population as large as St. Petersburg's, it still falls into your hands to make sure that people in and around your facilities are safe. Not only are icicles a danger, but the formation of ice and ice dams can damage a roof and cause gutters to rip off the side of a facility, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.

Picking at the problem

Clearing icicles is sometimes easier said than done. Just ask Matviyenko, who said that if they needed to use crowbars, they would use crowbars. While that technique is not recommended for your facility, we admire her pluck.

One of the best means of removing icicles is making sure you keep your roof cold. Icicles often form because of poor insulation or an air leak that melts snow on your roof, only to have it trickle down and refreeze on your gutter. Regular roof maintenance checks, scheduled with handy maintenance management software can keep you preventing rather than reacting. If icicles do form, and they are within reasonable reach, you can use a rake or an extended pole to knock down icicles from a distance. Just don't hack or chip, as that can be dangerous. Otherwise, you may have to search out alternative methods, which we'll cover in our next article.

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