Wednesday, 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.
Industrial commercial ice removal contractor
Sometimes a crane is required to reach our work.
Commercial roof ice removal using steam
Tuesday, 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.
How long it takes to remove an ice dam.