Ice Dam Removal
A lot of companies target the phrase ice dam removal. However not all companies are removing the ice correctly. In-fact many methods are damaging and will void roofing manufacturers warranties. Many ice dam removal companies are using hot pressure washers, hammers, ice picks, hatchets, axes, etc. These methods can easily damage roofing materials.
Our Background In Ice Dam Removal
As a (union & non-union) roofer and with this business I have 20+ years of combined experience removing ice dams. I have safely removed thousands of ice dams from all types of roofing materials and pitches. Through my experience I have learned that low pressure high temp steam is the only safe way to remove ice dams without damage.
I have used steam on all kinds of commercial and residential roofs. And I have experience with all of the following roofing materials such as but not limited to: asphalt shingles, asphalt rolled roofing/torch down, cedar wood shakes, ceramic and clay tiles, slate, stone and concrete tiles, standing seam metal/tin, modified bitumen, TPO and PVC, white hypalon, ballast or fully adhered EPDM rubber membrane, hot tar with or with out ballast/built up roof (BUR) and more.
I have experience with the following roofing manufacturers products including but not limited to: Carlisle Syn Tec, Firestone, GenFlex, Duro-Last, GAF, Timberline, Certain Teed, Tamko, IKO, and many others.
Ice Dam Equipment And Steam Technology
As a roofer I understand the importance of temperature and pressure and you should too. In fact I run both a pressure gauge and a temp gauge on all of my steamers at all times. Why? Because using the correct pressure and temperature makes the process gentle and fast. To cold = damage. To much pressure = damage. To me it’s a science. I operate this business with integrity. I am open and up front about our machines and our technology. Most companies will not show pictures of their machines because they are using pressure washers. I welcome all inquires and will speak to anyone with questions. Because I truly care about each property.
Two-Man Snow And Ice Removal Process
Having two people on every job is a must. This method ensures our safety, as well as maximum efficiency when removing ice dams. Never hire a company who only uses one person. Someone should always be close to the steamer at all times!
The first step in proper ice dam removal is removing all the snow from the roof. Not just some along the edges unless it’s close to spring. During the snow removal process two people are either on the roof using plastic shovels, or roof raking from a ladder or the ground. Never ever use metal snow removal equipment on roofs!
The next step is removing the fallen snow from areas on the ground as needed such as sidewalks and driveways. Use snow blowers to move the massive piles from the ground. Removing all the fallen snow from your property is not a one man job. Likewise, running an ice dam removal company with only one guy per job is very dangerous. Furthermore it’s not efficient and should never ever be done!
When steaming one person is always steaming the ice dams. While the other person makes sure the steamer stays fueled up and is operating correctly. During this process the person on the ground can clean up the fallen ice dams and watch for potential hazards such as AC units, windows, etc.
See Us In News Videos
Many people have learned the hard way that pressure washers can cut holes completely through the roof. So please educate yourself first by watching these videos and avoid this huge headache. We have over 100 educational videos to learn from.
Smart Choice for Roof Ice Removal
The smart choice for roof ice removal is low pressure (preferably 100 psi) high temp (ideally 275-300 degree F) steam. Because steam has no cutting power like water. In-fact steam cannot even damage a salt filled pair of pantyhose, we have tried! However a pressure washer would shred it to pieces.
Low PSI High Temperature Steamer VS High PSI Low Temperature Pressure Washer
Many companies claim they are using low pressure steamers when in fact they are not. They are running high pressure hot water pressure washers that truly cannot produce steam at all. These hot water pressure washers are very dangerous because the 1000 to 4000 psi of high pressurized water can easily cut through roofing materials.
Steam is safe and gentle because once the water has been atomized and turned into steam it can no longer cut through materials like water can. Steamers designed for ice dam removal will run at a very low psi of 100 and operate with temperatures between 275 to 300 degrees Fahrenheit.
Water begins to boil at 212 degrees. But good soft gentle steam acceptable for ice dam removal is produced between 275 and 300 degrees F. Pressure washers can generally only produce temperatures between 120 and 180 degrees F. And therefore still produce water and not steam. This highly pressurized water easily ruins and cuts through roofing materials.
Some pressure washers claim to produce 250 degree Fahrenheit wet steam but the catch is you must input 140 degree Fahrenheit hot water continuously. Whose water heater can keep up with that for hours on end? Not many! And even if that were possible on a commercial property the pressure is still unable to be turned down low enough to make it safe for ice dam removal.
Pressure washers have become a big problem in the ice dam removal industry because they are much cheaper and easier to obtain. This is much more common than one may think. And hundreds, possibly even thousands of roofs are ruined every ice dam season.
Steamers and pressure washers can look very similar and in fact some companies produce both a steamer and a hot pressure washer that look almost identical to the untrained eye. Even with all the similarities the differences are huge!
In my opinion the three easy ways to identify a pressure washer from a low psi steamer are, the trigger on the gun handle, the tips on the end of the wand and seeing a pressure and temperature gauge combo. You as the building owner could also use your own temperature gauge to test the water/steam discharge if you are still unsure. But determining the pressure is impossible without a pressure gauge.
How to Choose the Right Ice Dam Removal Equipment
Please study the comparison chart below to see the many differences between a pressure washer and a steamer. Remember, high pressure hot water is bad news on any roof. And if a company cannot prove they are using a steamer (with gauges) it is probably a pressure washer.
A steamer designed for ice dam removal will remove the ice dams safely and much faster than a pressure washer. Because the steam can be placed directly down on the roof to cut underneath the ice. However a pressure washer must be held a great distance off the roof to melt the ice and prevent significant damage to the roofing material.
Note: No matter how careful someone with a pressure washer is they can still remove limestone from the shingles. And this will cause premature roof failure at the very least. They could also very easily cut holes through your roofing material.
Companies with pressure washers will generally lie about their equipment and charge just as much per hour as a steamer. However the truth is, high pressure can never beat high temperature in a race to remove ice dams safely. And sadly you will pay in the end if you choose to hire someone with a pressure washer.
These facts are undisputed (in my opinion) and I welcome anyone using a pressure washer to an ice dam removal race (on your own roof of course) and without damage to the roof.
There are many different brands of steamers so we chose one of the most common. Likewise there are many brands of hot pressure washers so we chose the one people most often lie about and call a steamer. These hot pressure washers are great for their intended uses but not for ice dam removal.
Dealing With Insurance Companies to Cover Costs
Do you have ice forming behind the gutters and fascia or leaking through the soffits? Or leaking down your siding? Call your insurance company to resolve the issue as cheap as possible. In many cases insurance companies would rather pay to remove the snow and ice than to pay for the costly interior repairs. They often deal directly with us because we can stop roof leaks fast. A good insurance company will usually want to save money by removing the ice before water enters the building.
If the insurance company accepts your claim you will only pay the deductible. But we would not recommend waiting this long to remove the ice because by this time your property has already been damaged. Also there is never any guarantee the insurance company will pay for the snow and ice dam removal.
Common Ice Dam Removal Jobs
We receive a lot of ice dam removal calls from both commercial and residential properties. And we steam both often. However the majority of calls are from residential properties with pitched roofs. These include single family homes, multi family homes, twin homes, duplexes, condos, town home associations, apartment buildings, hotels, motels, restaurants, office buildings, churches etc.
Ice dam removal on commercial properties mainly includes buildings which produce a lot of heat inside such as high rise apartments, hospitals, restaurants, metal shops, plastic injection molding, manufacturing, warehouses, assembly, etc. A lot of these commercial jobs involve steaming the areas on the roof near the exterior scuppers. And steaming the downspouts and drains to open them up. And it’s common for us to remove the large icicles forming on the outside of the downspout and building. Sometimes this requires a boom lift or a harness/chair system to hang over the edge of the building, “a window cleaner’s expertise.”
Most often we can use a combination of steam from the roof and steam from a ladder. Ice on a downspout can ruin and/or pull the downspout off the building and cause serious bodily injury and property damage if it falls. Likewise ice dams that fall off of residential structures can also be very destructive and dangerous.
Why Do Ice Dam Removal Companies Work on an Hourly Basis?
All experienced ice dam removal companies will work on an hourly basis. And the reason for this is simple. There is just no good way to determine the amount of ice that lies buried underneath the snow. However some companies give you an estimate of how many feet of ice dams can be steamed on average per hour. And with that information you can get a close idea of how many hours your job should take.
However, if you have removed the snow already and are willing to send pictures a fairly accurate estimate can be given. The other important reason companies work on an hourly basis is because safety is first. The last place in the world you want to feel rushed is on a frozen steep slippery roof. Trust me!
Subjected to the arctic temperatures of winter and dealing with wet freezing conditions is no joke. When people rush and cut corners safety tends to become second to getting the job done. And that is very dangerous in the ice dam removal business. Safety is always first!
The Red Flags to Avoid When Hiring an Ice Dam Removal Company!
1) Avoid hiring a company who does not share information about the kind of equipment they use. They are probably using pressure washers. A good company is honest.
2) Avoid hiring a company who wants to hook their machine up to hot water. These companies are using pressure washers that will not produce steam.
3) Avoid hiring a company who cannot at least prove the temperature their machine produces. Our company uses both a temperature gauge and a pressure gauge at all times to show we are not using high psi. Eventually (we hope) this will become an industry standard and will eliminate pressure washers used on roofs.
4) Avoid hiring a company who only uses one guy on the job site. These companies generally charge the same amount as most companies do for two guys. This is dangerous and not efficient and will cost you more money in the end. Snow and ice dam removal is not a one man operation.
5) Avoid hiring a company with a suspiciously low hourly rate. Running an ice dam business with the right equipment is not cheap and experience proves that.
6) Avoid hiring a company who offers a free estimate. Instead look for a company who has an hourly rate with an average length of ice dams removed per hour. Giving an approximate price based on good pictures is okay sometimes as-well.
7) Avoid hiring a company who will not remove all the snow from your roof and walkways.
8) Avoid hiring a company who uses sub-contractors, instead seek a reputable company who owns their own equipment and has references and experience and trains each person.
9) Avoid hiring a company who cannot prove they are insured for ice dam removal.
How Do I Know If I Have an Ice Dam problem?
If you answer yes to any of these questions it’s likely you do have an ice dam problem and you should consider hiring a professional.
1) Do you see a lot of snow on your roof and have water leaking inside your building?
2) Do you see icicles hanging down over the roof edge or gutters?
3) Do you see a large wall of ice along the roof edge?
4) Do you see a lot of ice where two roofs come together in the valleys?
5) Do you see water leaking or icicles forming behind the gutters?
6) Do you see water leaking or ice forming through the soffits?
7) Do you see water leaking or ice forming on the exterior/siding or windows?
What Causes Ice Dams?
Ice dams are caused in many different ways and every property is different in some aspect. But ice dams are all caused by snow melt. Ice dams form when the snow melts in warmer areas and freezes again on colder surfaces such as the overhangs and gutters. Continuing melting and freezing causes the ice to grow into a dam. The dam then holds water and comes under the roofing. Then you have a roof leak.
There are many common reasons the snow will melt from your roof such as.
1) To much snow covering the roof vents trapping heat in the attic
2) Not enough roof vents again trapping heat in the attic
3) Not enough insulation in the attic
4) Interior building temperatures to warm
5) Exhaust vents improperly placed or directed
6) Skylights or vaulted ceilings
7) Exterior temperatures above and below freezing daily
Why Is Ice Dam Removal Important?
Ice dams will shorten the life of your roof and property if not properly prevented and removed. In many cases we have seen roofs less than five years old completely ruined from ice dams. The ice will lock onto the roof and freeze and expand continually until the shingles have no choice but to split as shown in the picture.
We have seen many roofs completely cracked from the gutters all the way up to the ridge cap. It is cheaper to prevent ice dams and to remove them than to replace your roof early. Other dangers of not removing the ice dams include: splitting/warping and loosening of the gutters and downspouts, roof deck warping and rotting, mold, premature roof failure and ultimately leaks into the property.
Ice Dams Prevention Checklist
The following checklist is intended to help prevent ice dams from forming on your property. Caution: The suggested services may require a professional.
1) Clean debris from your roof, including the valleys, gutters and downspouts before winter
2) Have your insulation inspected annually and upgraded as needed
3) Have your roof vents inspected and upgraded to code if needed to allow proper ventilation
4) Make sure the roof vents and other pipes don’t become buried with snow
5) Rake or shovel all the snow from your roof if heat vents or ridge vents and pipes become covered.
6) Wear more warm clothes and keep the inside building temperatures cooler than usual
7) Consider insulating skylight cavities to keep the glass cool
8) Winterize your home instead of heating it if you leave for the winter
We Offer Ice Dam Removal Services To These MN cities:
Albert Lea, Aitkin, Albertville, Alexandria, Andover, Annandale, Anoka, Apple Valley, Arden Hills, Arnold, Atkinson, Austin, Babbitt, Backus, Bagley, Barnum, Baxter, Bayport, Becker, Belle Plaine, Beaver Bay, Bemidji, Big Lake, Biwabik, Blaine, Bloomington, Brainerd, Breezy Point, Brooklyn Center, Brooklyn Park, Brookston, Bruno, Buffalo, Buhl, Burnett, Burnsville, Cambridge, Carlton, Center City, Centerville, Champlin, Chanhassen, Chaska, Chisago City, Circle Pines, Clear Lake, Clearwater, Cloquet, Cokato, Cold Spring, Columbia Heights, Coon Rapids, Corcoran, Cottage Grove, Croftville, Cromwell, Crookston, Crosby, Cross Lake, Crystal, Cuyuna, Dassel, Deephaven, Deer River, Delano, Dellwood, Detroit Lakes, Duluth, Eagan, East Bethel, East Gull Lake, East Grand Forks, Eden Prairie, Edina, Elk River, Emily, Esko, Eveleth, Excelsior, Fairmont, Faribault, Fairhaven, Falcon Heights, Fergus Falls, Farmington, Floodwood, Foley, Forest Lake, Frazee, Fredenberg, French Lake, Fridley, Garrison, Gilbert, Glencoe, Golden Valley, Grand Lake, Grand Maris, Grand Portage, Grand Rapids, Greenwood, Grove City, Hackensack, Ham Lake, Hanover, Harney, Harris, Hastings, Hasty, Hermantown, Hibbing, Highland, Highland Park, Hinkley, Holyoke, Hopkins, Howard Lake, Hugo, Hutchinson, Independence, International Falls, Inver Grove Heights, Isabella, Isanti, Iverson, Kasson, Kettle River, Kimball, Knife River, Lake Elmo, Lakeville, Larsmont, Lauderdale, Lexington, Litchfield, Lindstrom, Lino Lakes, Little Canada, Little Falls, Little Marais, Little Rock, Long Lake, Lutsen, Mahtomedi, Mahnomen, Mahtowa, Mankato, Maple Grove, Maple Lake, Maple Plain, Maplewood, Marshall, McGregor, McGrath, Medina, Mendota Heights, Milaca, Minneapolis, Mpls, Minnetonka, Minnetonka Beach, Minnetrista, Montevideo, Monticello, Montrose, Moorhead, Moose Lake, Mora, Mound, Mounds View, Munger, New Brighton, New Hope, New Prague, New Ulm, Nisswa, North Branch, North Mankato, North Minneapolis, North Oaks, North St. Paul, Northfield, Norwood Young America, Nowthen, Oak Grove, Oak Park Heights, Oakdale, Onamia, Orono, Otsego, Otter Creek, Ottertail, Owatonna, Palmers, Park Rapids, Paynesville, Pelican Rapids, Pine City, Plymouth, Princeton, Proctor, Prior Lake, Ramsey, Red Lake, Red Wood Falls, Red Lake Reservation, Red Wing, Redby, Richfield, Richmond, Robbinsdale, Rochester, Rock Creek, Rockford, Rockville, Rogers, Rosemount, Roseville, Rush City, Saginaw, Sandstone, Sartell, Sauk Center, Sauk Rapids, Savage, Sawyer, Scanlon, Scandia, Shakopee, Shoreview, Shorewood, Silver Bay, Silver Creek, South Haven, South Minneapolis, South St. Paul, Spring Lake Park, Stacy, Staples, Stewart, Stillwater, Sturgeon Lake, St. Anthony, St. Augusta, St. Cloud, St. Francis, St. Joseph, St. Louis Park, St. Michael, St. Paul, St. Paul Park, St. Peter, Tamarack, Thief River Falls, Tofte, Tonka Bay, Tower, Twig, Two Harbors, Vadnais Heights, Victoria, Virginia, Waconia, Wadena, Waite Park, Walker, Waseca, Watertown, Wayzata, Waverly, West St. Paul, White Bear Lake, Willmar, Willow River, Winona, Winsted, Woodbury, Worthington, Wrenshall, Wright, Wyoming, Zimmerman
Other US States We Cover
We also travel to ANY US state in need of ice dam steaming. We served the surrounding areas of Boston MA and Buffalo NY in 2015 and Bend Oregon in 2017. Here is a MPR News Story about us and other MN companies in Boston.
We Also Service The Following US States For Ice Dam Steaming:
Alaska (AK), California (CA), Colorado (CO), Connecticut (CT), Delaware (DE), Idaho (ID), Illinois (IL), Indiana (IN), Iowa (IA), Maine (ME), Maryland (MD), Massachusetts (MA), Michigan (MI), Minnesota (MN), Montana (MT), New Hampshire (NH), New Jersey (NJ), New York (NY), North Dakota (ND), Ohio (OH), Oregon (OR), Pennsylvania (PA), Rhode Island (RI), South Dakota (SD), Utah (UT), Vermont (VT), Washington (WA), Wisconsin (WI), West Virginia (WV), Wyoming (WY)
Background In Ice Dam Removal
Ice Dam Removal Equipment and Steam Technology
Two Man Ice Dam Removal Process
Removing Ice Dams from All Roofing Materials
Absolutely Clean In the News About Ice Dam Removal
Smart Choice for Ice Dam Removal
Ice Dam Steamer vs. Hot Pressure Washer
How to Choose the Right Ice Dam Removal Equipment
Do Insurance Companies Cover Ice Dam Removal Cost?
Common Ice Dam Removal Jobs We Steam
How Do I know if I have an Ice Dam Problem?
Why Do Ice Dam Removal Companies Work on an Hourly Basis Only?
The Red Flags to Avoid When Hiring an Ice Dam Removal Company!
What Causes Ice Dams?
Why is Ice Dam Removal Important?
Ice Dam Prevention Check List
A customer on Google said, “Jesse did an outstanding job removing our ice dam! I could not be any happier. His crew was great as well. (Thanks Glen and Bob!) Jesse explained the whole process and why using STEAM and not PRESSURE is the most important process in removing ice dams. He also helped us determine the underlying cause of our ice dams. For almost 20 years we thought we could only avoid ice dams by using a heating coil. THANKS JESSE for all your help!!!” Choose to hire us now.