How ice dam steaming works has long been a trade secret that only professionals discussed among themselves and the lucky (or unlucky) observers get to see. But here we will discuss some of the more common steps in the ice dam removal process that are practiced by most professionals.
How Ice Dam Steaming Works
The first thing professionals will usually do is remove the snow (some or all depending on the time of year) from the roof using plastic equipment such as roof rakes or shovels. Then the snow on the ground will be cleaned up if needed. If the snow is not removed from walkways or driveways it will be a frozen ice mound and difficult to remove later!
Once the ice dams have been fully exposed on the roof the steam machine can be set up. This involves, emptying the machine of anti-freeze and introducing fresh clean cold water from the property. In most cases a steamer will be hooked up to electricity. The water from your property is forced by the electric pump through a long steel coil inside the steamer which is super heated with a kerosene/diesel fired burner. When the water passed through the coils it is changed into steam. Once the steamer is running for a period of time the spray will change from all water to steam. Once the machine is up to temp it is time to start steaming ice dams.
Ice dam steaming can either be done from the roof or from a ladder. If steaming from the roof it may be necessary to steam a safe spot to stand. Usually the ice dam is first cut into manageable sections vertically through the ice dam. Then the ice dam can be undercut with steam to break the bond between the ice, the roof, and the gutters. Once the bond has been broken, the ice dam will drop. This lets the steamer know it is loosened completely and in some cases depending on the roof pitch it may need a gentle nudge to slide off. If your home has gutters the ice would also be removed from them.
In conclusion, this is how ice dam steaming works. There are many technical things that we did not discussed here but we hope this helps. For more info contact us. One final word of caution avoid hot pressure washers on your roof! They are not low pressure steamers and can easily damage your roof.