In Dec of 2010, Minneapolis saw over 33″ of snowfall. On Dec 10th we recorded a 4th highest on record, a whopping 17″ in a 24 hour period. You might remember that as the year the Minneapolis Metrodome collapsed. I remember watching it on the news. The stadium’s dome caved in and emptied out on the 50-yard line! There were also other interesting stories on the news that winter. Companies on roofs removing ice with steam. These companies were all over the news!
There are generally two types of equipment used for professional ice dam removal. Some companies choose to use low PSI open tip steam equipment. Other companies choose to use pressure washer tip equipment, generally known as a higher PSI “steam” equipment. This is a true story about how I got my start in the ice dam removal business. Furthermore, it is an account of my first-hand experiences with pressure washer tip equipment.
- Do both the open tip and pressure washer tip equipment produce steam?
- Does the nozzle really matter?
- What type of steam is generally safe for your roof.
- Is buying a new roof worth hiring the wrong company?
Steam ice dam removal! What a brilliant idea I thought. I was a recent college graduate turned roofer that was shoveling roofs in the winter to get by. So what did I do? I decided to start an ice dam company. I thought “why not”? I get to help people and stay busy working at the same time. However, there’s a catch. Electric steam ice dam removal equipment is very expensive.
So, I looked for a cheaper alternative. Gas powered pressure washers with a burner that heated the water was the answer. Why not? I knew there were other guys using them. Furthermore, these companies had great reviews. They were even on the news! They said it was steam so it must be steam. This is awesome! I thought pressure washer tip gas powered equipment was the ticket for me!
My Pitfalls With Gas Powered Equipment
Fast forward two weeks. I’ve got my ” pressure washer tip gas powered steamer”. I’ve got my ladders and truck. I’ve got my work comp, business license and proper insurance in place. As it turns out, I’ve also got a serious knack for getting myself into a pickle.
Unbeknownced to me this machine I was operating was seriously overpowered and didn’t heat nearly hot enough to create the type of steam I needed. However, this machine still heated the water. Thus, creating the look of steam. It even had what looked like a cloud of steam around my gun when the hot vaporized water came out. I even thought it was steam.
However, it was dangerous to operate off of a ladder or from a roof. When I pulled the trigger on my hot pressure washer gun it nearly spun me in a circle. Imagine that while being 20 ft in the air on an icy ladder. I remember thinking “it has got to work. It works for other guys & well-known companies. It has got to remove roof ice.”
How Can It Be Safe For My Customers Roofs?
I learned on my first job that it removed ice very well. In fact, it cut through ice like a knife. However, I learned on my second job that it also could very easily cut and remove roof shingles if I wasn’t extremely careful. More importantly, it removed granules from shingles. Thinning the shingle and reducing the lifespan of the roof. Hold on a minute! Remove and cut shingles! Well, it did. Only when I slowly melted the ice from afar was it safe. I immediately notified the customer of the cut and missing shingles on their roof, Thankfully my liability insurance picked up the tab.
I reached out to the ice dam removal companies with the same machines I was using and told them my story. I asked this company- how can their equipment be safe for a roof? It must be safe.
I'm Not Giving Up
I knew there was better equipment available but I couldn’t afford to pay out of pocket at the time. Even with all of my school loans, I used what money I had from the sale of the gas pressure washer and took out another loan. I purchased a low PSI ice dam removal steam machine. I’m not one to give up. So, I told myself that I had to buy the equipment to make all my previous troubles worth it.
A Second Chance With Low PSI Ice Dam Removal
Now I could perform ice dam removal with honesty, transparency, and integrity. Furthermore, Minneapolis MN was on the brink of record snowfall totals and I had the answer for every Minneapolis roof leak. My new steam machine operated at 100 PSI and 300 degrees Fahrenheit and I could prove it to my customers by putting gauges on my equipment. It was actually steam! Compared to the previous machine that I just couldn’t get to work safely for me or my customers. The best thing about my shiny new steam machine is that I believe I have a much lower chance of damaging a roof with it! Furthermore, it is incredibly safe to operate. I don’t have anymore backpressure pushing on me while I’m on my ladder. As well as, I can now remove ice directly from the shingle making my new equipment twice as fast as my old gas powered equipment. Hey, when you’re charging by the hour, every minute counts and that time matters. Unlike many other companies, I truly was operating with integrity and honesty.
How Do These "Ice Dam Companies" Get On The News? Don't The News Channels Know Any Better? What About Their Customers? The Good Reviews? How Is This Even Possible?
We have done one news story in our lifetime as an ice dam company and it was an eye-opener, to say the least. The owner of our company was filmed on the street with a news team talking about ice dam removal. The news team then took that video and added a clip of someone using a hot pressure washer removing ice dams towards the end of that video.
That’s how hard to learn it can be. If the news channels don’t know then how can you? It is a video clip of a different ice dam removal company. Because of this video, we wrote this page. There is nothing wrong with what the news company did. They just aren’t educated enough to know the difference between pressure washer tips and steam nozzle equipment. They thought they were doing us a solid and it made the video a little more interesting for viewers. Would we like a correction video to be done? Sure we would. But that’s not what this is about.
Disclaimer: The machine and gun used in this video is not our equipment. Nor is it our technician on the ladder. This is a video that shows a pressure washer removing ice from a home. Depicted in a way by the media to show it as our equipment. It is not our equipment. This video was edited by the media.
Low PSI Steam Tips VS Pressure Washer Tips - Does It Matter?
Before You Hire A Ice Dam Company Ask Yourself A Few Questions.
- Pressure Washers On Your Roof? Have you ever pressure washed any surface? IF So – Would you allow someone on your roof in the summer to clean your roof with a pressure washer? Modified or unmodified do these companies show you hoe their equipment reacts with a shingle?
- What happens when you throw a cup of hot water into the air in the middle of winter? Steam, right? You got it! High-pressure and low-pressure hot water looks like steam in the winter.
- Are the news teams educated enough to know the difference between low-pressure steam or high-pressure hot water? Do they care or is a good news story enough for them? I believe they do care. It’s just not very interesting stuff. So you lose most people when you try to educate them. “I hope you’re still listening”.
- What about the companies operating high PSI equipment?
- If you had the ice dams removed from your home- would you get out a ladder to inspect your roof in the middle of the winter?
- If your roof was damaged by ice dam removal equipment would you know what to look for? Would the signs even be noticeable that year? Or is granual loss something that doesn’t become noticeable for several years?
- Would you hire a company that uses potentially damaging equipment?
- Would you hire a company that doesn’t provide any up close videos of how their steam reacts with the shingles on a roof?
- Do you think the technicians using dangerous equipment are always careful to not get to close to your shingles when it only takes a split second of human error to damage a roof?
- Is the cost of a new roof worth the energy it takes to have the ice dam removal company prove that they are using safe equipment with pressure and temperature gauges?
Ice Dam Steaming vs High Temp Pressure Washing for Ice Dam Removal
Ice Dam Steaming isn’t the only method for MN Ice Dam Removal, but it is the safest MN method. Please take a few moments to read this page and educate yourself on the differences between steam ice dam removal companies vs companies that perform high temp pressure washing for ice dam removal. Despite the large differences between 100% steam equipment and high temp pressure washing both of these companies more than likely advertise as using steam.
At Ice Dams Removed we only use Ice Dam Steam Machines for MN Ice Dam Removal. An Ice Dam Steam Machine is a machine built specifically for Ice Dam Removal. Ice Dam Steamers produce high temp steam at very low pressures. We do not use high temp pressure washers. A high temp pressure washer is built for cleaning surfaces at a moderate heat and a very high pressure. A high temp pressure washer can and more than likely will damage your roof if that guy on your roof is having a bad day. For ice dam removal with ice dam steaming equipment contact the MN Ice Dam Removal experts at Ice Dams Removed.
Our Low PSI High Temp Electric Steam Ice Dam Removal. What’s So Special About It?
- Our Ice Dam Steamers operate at a very low pressure of 100 psi. We want you to know this because we can remove all of your ice in a single pass without granular loss of your shingles. This means we believe we can remove ice twice as fast as a pressure washer can. Saving us time and you money.
- Our Ice Dam Steamers can produce high-temperature steam at 310 degrees. This is so great because it melts through ice rapidly reducing our billable hours on your job.
- Our Ice Dam Steamers have no operating trigger on the gun. This creates constant steam.
- Ice Dam Steamers have so little pressure it would be difficult to damage shingles.
- Our Ice Dam Steamers have an open tip at the end of the gun wand. These tips are recommended for ice dam removal. Our tips can be changed if needed. To a different size pattern etc.. But we like to stick with the tubular tips that provide us with the fastest, safest ice cutting power.
- Our Ice Dam Steamers use less water than most hot pressure washers we know of. Thus, greatly reducing any icy mess outside of your home.
- We feel that low-pressure Ice Dam Steamers are safer to operate on a roof because of the difference in back pressure at the gun. Greatly reducing the chance of injury due to the gentle back pressure.
- Water moves slow enough for the burner to effectively heat it up to the temps needed to create steam with our efficient electric pumps.
- Our machines have a large burner unit and horizontal heating coils. Thus ensuring we’ve got the heat and power for the task at hand.