January 5th, 2016
The Ice Dam company was featured on Kare11 about Ice Dam prevention, preparation and heat cable installation.
January 5th, 2016
The Ice Dam company was featured on Kare11 about Ice Dam prevention, preparation and heat cable installation.
December 8th, 2015
The Cleaner Times, a trade magazine for power washing and steaming professionals wrote a feature article about the Ice Dam Company and our commitment to the best way to remove ice dams: Steaming. You can read the full article here:
Or download a PDF here:
October 5th, 2015
Over the years we have heard people call heat cable many things.
Heat Coils for ice dam prevention:
Heat coils most likely get their name from the fact that the material itself, that is the heat cable, comes in coils and when installed by a hack is sometimes left in coils on the roof. Heat coils for ice dam prevention are of course the same thing as heat cables.
Roof deicing cables for ice dam prevention:
Roof deicing cables get their name from their primary purpose, to deice roofs. The name is a bit of a misnomer, however, because technically, roof deicing cables do not deice the entire roof, or even the majority of it. Ice dam deicing cables only melt channels through a small percentage of the ice dam to enable the passage of water through the ice dam so water is not able to back up behind the ice dam, into the roof material and into the home. Roof deicing cable is commonly used in the control of ice dams. Notice that there is a big distinction between preventing ice dams and controlling ice dams. Roof deicing wire and roof deicing cable is not meant to prevent ice dams so much as it is meant to control the affects of ice dams on roofs.
Gutter heat cables, Gutter heat tape and Gutter deicing cable:
Gutter heat tape also known as gutter heat wire, is used in the same fashion as heat cable, heat tape and roof deicing cable. It’s primary purpose is to melt ice, or more specifically, to prevent the original formation of ice in the gutter. As discussed in the here general section, gutters in fact have nothing to do with either the creation or severity of ice dams. This isn’t to say that using gutter heat tape or gutter heat wire is a bad idea. Having hundreds of pounds of ice form in your gutter system causes problems of its’ own, most notably that the gutters can be ripped off the house by the weight of the ice itself. Gutter heating coils is yet another variation of this category of names.
Roof Heat Wire and Roof Heat Coils
As with other names, roof heat wire gets its’ name from the perception of its’ intended function. It’s just another way of saying heat cable or heat tape. Roof heat wire is wire on the roof that carries heat with the purpose of controlling ice dams or the damage created by ice formations on a roof.
October 4th, 2015
HEAT CABLE CLIP COST:
$.78 to $1.22 Per Heat Cable Clip (Traditional, mechanically fastened clip used for standard asphalt roofs)
$25.00 to $35.00 Per Heat Cable Clip (Slotted clip used for slate, tile and cedar roofs)
$.78 to $1.22 Per Heat Cable Clip (Traditional, mechanically fastened clip)
We sell a wide variety of clips, brackets and doohickies for the installation of ice dam heat cable. There are three basic varieties of clips one can buy through the Ice Dam Company.
Mechanically Fastened Heat Cable Clips:
This type of clip is either nailed or screwed onto the roof. It is by far the most common clip sold on The Ice Dam Company website and is used primarily to secure heat cables and roof deicing wire to asphalt roofs. Our installers use these clips to install ice dam heat cable by either nailing or screwing the clips directly to the roof surface, usually in conjunction with a blob of special polyurethane caulk. Once installed, these clips are used to hold the ice dam cable in place permanently without creating wear points that might eventually abrade through the cable and cause issues with functionality. The average cost of these heat cable and roof deicing wire clips for ice dam control is $.78 to $1.22 Per Heat Cable Clip, depending on style, color and order quantity.
Slotted Clips and Brackets for Heat Cable:
As the name suggests, this family of clips is slotted in order to allow installers to use existing fasteners on a roof system to hold the clip in place. The most common application is the slate roof clip or cedar roof clip. Such clips are slipped up, under the existing roofing material and hooked around the nails being used to hold the clip in place. Using slotted heat cable clips is the suggested method of installing heat cable and roof deicing cables on slate roofs and sometimes on cedar roofs because of the non-invasive, non-destructive nature of the install. Slotted roof heat cable and roof deicing clips are far more expensive for ice dam prevention installations than traditional heat cable clips. The average cost of these heat cable and roof deicing wire clips for ice dam control is $25.00 to $35.00 Per Heat Cable Clip, depending on style, color and order quantity. The vast majority of the slotted clips we sell are made of copper and are for use on slate roofs.
Glue-on clips for ice dam heat cable and roof deicing cable:
The third and final style of clips we sell are Glue-on clips. These clips are used on metal and single ply roofing systems, such are EPDM (rubber) and TPO membranes. Installing heat cable and roof deicing wire on metal roofs is not nearly as common as on other systems such as asphalt roofs and slate roofs. Metal roofs are simply less prone to ice dams, or more specifically, to damage caused by ice dams. Single ply systems, or roof membranes like TPO or rubber roofs, are even less likely to suffer from the ill consequences of ice dams. This explains why we sell less of this style of roof clip than any other. The average cost of these heat cable and roof deicing wire clips for ice dam control is $.92 to $4.55 Per Heat Cable Clip, depending on style, color and order quantity.
September 29th, 2015
I was recently interviewed by Realtor Magazine for a piece about preparing home buyers for severe weather –including Ice Dams, why ice dams happen and ice dam prevention methods.
You can read the full Article at Realtor Magazine Here:
Help Clients Prepare for Weather Challenges
The piece also discusses other weather related problems and disasters that can happen from strong winter weather. Check it out. I am frequently interviewed from media and professional sources from all around the country on the topic of ice dams because I started The Ice Dam Company so long ago. We are in fact the largest and the oldest ice dam prevention and ice dam removal company in the country. Before the Ice Dam Company, no other company existed that specialized in this area of business. Now, of course, the web is littered with ‘experts’ and ‘specialists’ purporting to be leaders.
September 18th, 2015
We sell a huge amount of heat cable clips for ice dam heat cables and roof deicing cables. Most of the roof deicing heat cable clips we sell relate to new ice dam prevention heat cables. Many of the clips we sell, however, relate to people needing replacement ice then heat cable clips. For example, in the case of a reroofing project, the roofer often removes the existing ice dam deicing cable system and neglects to keep the clips. A bit of a bummer, but they are easy enough to replace.
One of the less common roof deicing cable clip is made for slate roof applications. Slate roof ice dam cable clips are quite different than standard heat cable installation clips. Here is a photo of the two side-by-side:
Slate roof heat cable clips, also known as slate roof ice dam cable brackets, are far more expensive than standard ice dam heat cable clips. Check for current pricing in our store. Right now our prices for ice dam heat cable clips are as follows: $40 for a box of 25 standard heat cable clips. Slate roof deicing cable clips cost $20 per piece.
Installing heat cables on a slate roof requires special expertise and special accessories. Standard roof deicing projects are often far more affordable based on the clip cost alone.
March 11th, 2015
As the oldest ice removal company in the USA, we get asked to do some pretty bizarre stuff. We have done our share of strange ice removal projects but one that keeps popping up is removing ice from around cooling towers. What is a cooling tower? I don’t know exactly but I suspect it has something to do with providing chilled air or water to industrial equipment inside buildings. We have removed ice from around industrial equipment, like cooling towers, for many years. The tricky part is that they are normally fed by high voltage and natural gas so you don’t want an inexperienced person attempting this work. We slice away ice from commercial and industrial equipment using the same equipment we use for removing ice dams from homes. That is, we use our modified commercial steamers. Our guys were under such pressure earlier this winter that they worked from 2pm around the clock to 7:30am. The operation of an entire plant depended on the cooling tower being operational. We used two crews to complete the task. It wasn’t a cheap job but the cost of one lost day of production was far worse. Plus, according to the commercial HVAC contractor consulting on the project, there was a good chance that the cooling tower could be seriously damaged if the ice was allowed to remain in place any longer than it was.
Sometimes a crane is required to reach our work.
March 3rd, 2015
We are often asked “How long will it take to remove my ice dams?”. While it may surprise you to hear this, after having removed thousands of ice dams, we still can’t give a definitive answer. Sure, most projects typically take somewhere between 2-6 hours, but that’s a big range. We ask that people send photos of their ice dams so that we can see what is happening. This helps us estimate costs to some degree. Specifically, these photos tell us approximately how long the ice dams are along an eave area. That is great. It’s also important to see what the site conditions are like. Is the job 8 feet or 28 feet off the ground? Will the chunks of ice we are removing fall harmlessly to the ground or is the ice dam located about a glass solarium that will need extensive protection? But even when we are armed with good photos there are still a number of variables that factor into the cost of removing an ice dam, the most important of which is what we call ‘depth’. The depth of an ice dam is the distance it travels up the roof. Study the diagram below. Notice call-out (A). This distance is in fact the most important factor in determining how long it takes to remove an ice dam (aside from it’s length, of course). Slicing through a 12″ thick ice dam is no big deal if it’s only 12″ deep. If it’s 24″ deep, that’s a totally different story.
The depth, or how far up the roof the ice has grown, is in fact the thing that drives the project time frame more than the thickness. The challenge is that if the ice dam is covered with snow, we can’t see how far up the roof the ice has grown. Only after we shovel the snow back can we get an accurate gauge as to how long the project will take.
Other variables that affect the duration of an ice dam removal job include: Height of work, site access and outdoor temperatures. Most people don’t know this but ice gets significantly harder to cut when it’s really cold out. The character of the ice actually changes and it takes longer to cut, even with the monster commercial steamers we use.
February 24th, 2015
I have been asked many, many times where we buy our equipment. A lot of people in my position would be nervous to reveal our key vendors, after all, providing such info might help our competition, right? I’m not hung up on helping others get into the business of ice dam removal. There is usually enough business to go around and, quite frankly, buying a steamer is just the first step. That said, it’s an important first step and to all who have asked me over the years, here is my answer. I buy our ice dam steaming equipment at American Pressure in Robinsdale, Minnesota. Click here to visit their site.
Here is another piece of advice I offer all who call. Buy more than one unit. It’s true, you will spend $4000-$5000 for a quality unit. But if there is an ice dam season, such an investment will pay for itself in a matter of days. Equipment redundancy is essential when you have clients calling because things can and do go wrong with ice dam steaming equipment. More often than not it is related to user error. For example, if even a single drop of water or small spec of ice gets into the fuel tank while refueling during a job, the machine will often shut down. User error. Or, if the ice dam steamer is using a water supply that is high in mineral content, those minerals will build up in the steel burner coil and in the high temp hoses, eventually shutting the machine down. Depending on the water supply and the number of hours the machine is running, it can take as little as a few days for this process to occur. The fix is simple (use powdered acid to ‘descale’ the machine and hoses). Nevertheless, it takes the machine out of circulation and when things are busy, it’s a huge bummer to not be steaming ice. I therefore always suggest buying more than one unit. I have yet to here of someone who regrets that decision.
I get calls from people all over the country and from Canada asking where to buy ice dam steaming equipment. American Pressure is my answer. Not only because they know their stuff but because they are truly good people at heart.
January 23rd, 2015
Heat cables manufactured by Easy Heat, Frost King and Wrap On are not worth buying. I can’t say it more plainly than that. These cables are typically sold at box stores like Home Depot and Lowes and they should be ashamed to sell them. Why? For starters, they are only warrantied for 1 or 2 years for a very good reason. That is as long as they last (I’ve attached warranties from Wrap On and Frost King below). Homeowners buy bad cables because they are cheap and because they believe what the packaging says. Sadly, we replace thousands of feet of this junk every year. We install more heat cables that any firm in the country and fully 20% of the work we do is the replacement failed ice dam heat cable systems manufactured by Easy Heat, Frost King and Wrap On.
Beyond the short lifespan, heat cables by Easy Heat, Frost King and Wrap On are energy hogs. While they only typically draw 5 watts a foot, they run at 100% while they are plugged in, regardless of the surrounding temperatures. They are what’s called ‘constant wattage’ cable. Our ice dam heat cables are self-regulating. They sense the outdoor temperatures and draw only the electricity they need to do the job. The net result is that cheap cables made by Easy Heat, Frost King and Wrap On chew through electricity. So, somewhat paradoxically, our heavy duty ice dam heat tape runs at over twice the peak wattage of the cheap stuff, it uses far less electricity over a season.
Don’t buy Big Box heat cable.
The Ice Dam company based out of Hopkins, Minnesota, about 5 miles west of Minneapolis. We've done gutter ice removal, roof ice removal and ice dam removal all over the Twin Cities, on new houses and old ones.
Some of the more frequent places we've done ice dam services are:
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