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How Come You Were Able to Clear Our Ice Dam So Much Faster Last Year?

Many customers ask us about the amount of time it takes to clear ice dams from year to year.  They’ll ask us why it took us much less time to remove their ice dams last year (or why it took some other guy less time to remove their ice dams last year).

Boy, are there a lot of possible answers to that.

When “the other guy” removed your ice dams…

In this instance, usually when someone is comparing us to another company they’re unhappy because their bill is larger than it was the year before. They’re assuming we’re charging for something unnecessary.

We ask how careful the other guys were.  Some ice dam companies like to cut corners, and rush through the job.  Often, they end up damaging the roof, too.

When we removed your ice dams…

There are many variables that can affect how quickly a job moves.  Very few of them are in the control of the ice dam professional.

For example, what was the ambient temperature on the last visit vs. on this visit? When it’s warmer out (especially above freezing) the average job time is often cut in half (!).  The ice almost pops off the surface of the shingle, making it easy for us to get it off with relative ease.  It may not feel very warm to you, but there’s a big difference between removing ice dams on a 21-degree day and removing them on a 33-degree day, and the same is true of even a subzero day vs to a 10-degree day.

The ice dam may be much farther up your roof this time, too.  From the ground you can only see the thickness or height of the ice dam.  You have no idea how far the ice dam actually climbs up the roof towards the peak.  We see ice dams that crawl up the roof only 2-3 feet, but we also see them climb all the way to the peak of the roof – 20 feet or more!  There’s usually no way to know unless you’re on the roof and have removed the snow covering the ice dam.

Speaking of clearing snow, that’s another reason ice dam removal can take longer from one year to the next: Maybe we had to clear more snow.  That’s time-consuming, and it’s intense labor that requires a few breaks to catch your breath.

Also, the type of snow matters, as does the type of ice.  Wet, heavy snow takes longer to clear than does light, fluffy snow.  Black, clear, hard ice takes more time to get off.  White ice, which is like honeycombed lake ice in the early spring, pops right off.  

The area of your roof matters too.  Maybe the ice was just along your overhangs last time, but this time it’s in your valleys as well.  Maybe your vents were clogged last time, keeping the surface of the roof warm enough that removing the ice was a breeze, but this time your vents are clear and the roof is frozen solid.

In other words, there are just a ton of variables.

No two ice dams are alike, no two winters are alike, and no two ice dam removal jobs are alike.  Rest assured that when we come to your home we’re doing everything we can to move as fast and safely as we can, without cutting corners or damaging your roof.

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