With a polar vortex lobe heading for Michigan, now is the time to ask yourself if you are ready for serious winter weather. In Michigan, some years we do get a lot of snow. Sometimes, no matter how well you plan, you can’t avoid an ice dam or two on your roof.
Here is how to find the right ice dam removal company that will help more than hurt and is worth the money you spend.
Questions to Ask an Ice Dam Removal Company
How Much Does it Typically Cost to Remove Ice Dams?
Ask the companies you call how much it costs to remove an ice dam. Most of them should say they charge by the hour and that’s because no ice dam is the same and no roof is exactly the same as another.
Then factor in the outside temperature, where the ice dam is located on your roof, how much snow is covering the roof and so on. They won’t know until they get there how long it will take to get the job done well.
If you get quoted a flat fee, you may not get a thorough removal. Or you are going to end up with a damaged roof. Either that company will charge you more than you were quoted, or something else may end up going wrong.
Is There is a Minimum Fee?
Some companies won’t have a minimum fee. Those companies are the ones who want more calls and more competition. They are going for the business of homeowners who don’t know much about ice dams and are counting on people thinking it’s a job that can be done in a short amount of time.
The truth is, ice dams are very dangerous to remove. Additionally, they are almost certain to take several hours at a minimum. If a company charges a minimum fee, that only signals they know what they are doing, not that they are trying to scam you. Typically there will be a minimum, then per hour and materials (Calcium Chloride).
How Soon Can Your Company Arrive?
It’s probably true that, if you’re actively searching for an ice dam removal company, you have an active leak from your roof. If you are calling in the dead of winter when everyone else is dealing with ice dams, the companies you call could be very busy.
The best possible answer is that they can come the same day you call or the next day. However, if they can’t answer some of the other questions the right way, you are better off waiting another day. Don’t wait too long though. The longer you let a leak go, the more damage is being done to your roof sheathing and interior.
Is Your Company Fully Insured?
I can’t stress this enough: don’t hire a company that can’t prove they have the proper insurance to be up on your roof. You could end up in a legal dispute if that company has an accident on your roof.
Many roofing companies do ice dam and or roof snow removal to help keep employees busy in the winter when roofing cannot be done.
Don’t be shy about it. Ask to see the company’s documentation of insurance. They should carry both workers comp and general liability before stepping foot on your property.
The insurance certificate should be faxed or e-mailed directly to you from the agent.
Roof snow removal and ice dam work is very dangerous. Just be sure they are insured.
What Method and Equipment Do You Use?
When possible, depending on roof pitch the roof should be shoveled using plastic shovels or snow rakes and taking care not to gauge shingles. If the entire slope cannot be accessed due to pitch or other hazard, then the crew should do their best to get at least the first 4-6 feet shoveled.
Depending on severity of the dam calcium chloride should be used to melt down some channels and allow for water flow. Once water is flowing the entire dam should be treated with calcium chloride. This may take a return trip or two depending on how bad it is. Special attention should be paid to valley intersections.
In addition, ask about shovels or rakes they plan to use. Any and all tools should have plastic cutting edges or bumpers if they are metal. Any reputable company will know they can’t use metal tools on your roof, as they can damage the shingles.
Some companies may use steam power washer set ups. However, we have found that calcium chloride is the tried and true safe method.
Stick with Your Decision
If you have gotten an appointment with a reputable ice dam removal company in the middle of the busy season, stick with that appointment. These companies will be very busy. If they are answering all of your questions correctly, it’s a good company and they should do a good job.
Ice dam removal is a dangerous and tricky job. Never try to do it yourself and always hire a reputable company by following these guidelines. It will ultimately save you money to remove an ice dam.
If you have any questions and live in the Southeast Michigan area, please give us a call. We are here whenever you need us.
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