The True Story of IDSAFE. The What, Where, When, Why & Who?
What happened to create a need for IDSAFE?
Roofs across the country were being destroyed.
Where were roofs being destroyed?
From MN to Boston (at that time).
When were roofs being destroyed?
Our first awareness was in 2010 in MN.
Why were roofs being destroyed?
Roofs were destroyed from hot pressure washers, hammers etc.
Who was destroying roofs?
Only general info will be released (no names). Please read below.
A Business Owner Confessed To Cutting Holes In 40-50 Roofs With A Hot Pressure Washer That Winter
This association was never designed to harm anyone’s business (contrary to what some companies believe) but to help bring awareness to consumers. In-fact we made our first YouTube video about how pressure washers can destroy roofs long before we knew there were multiple companies doing it. All we knew at that time was that one business owner had confessed to destroying multiple roofs (read full story below). He confessed to cutting holes in 40-50 roofs with a hot pressure washer that winter! So we then educated him about steaming ice dams on our job site. Because of this education no more roofs were ever damaged by that contractor. Education is important.
Our 20+ Year History In The Roofing Industry Removing Ice Dams
Hello, my name is Jesse and I am the owner and president of IDSAFE. I have also owned Absolutely Clean Window Washing for over 10 years and under that business name I steam ice dams. And prior to being a business owner I was a roofer for more than 10 years. In-fact I still consider myself a roofer to this day. I have personally installed almost every type of roofing material on commercial and residential roofs. Furthermore, in the winter we stopped roof leaks by removing snow and ice dams from pitched and flat roofs. I was expertly trained in this field by Union and Non-Union companies.
Roofing is a very difficult demanding job and even more demanding in the winter. As a roofer I have seen and done a lot. I have done asbestos tear-offs wearing space suits, re-roofed hot tar roofs, re-roofed EPDM Carlisle and Firestone rubber roofs. Also I’ve installed metal roofs, cedar shakes and asphalt shingles including GAF/Owens Corning/CertainTeed/IKO and many others.
Transition From Professional Roofer To Business Owner
As a roofer I always envied the job of the crane operator and shingle delivery drivers. They ride around in the AC and sit in a chair to boom up materials. Hardly ever breaking a sweat. Meanwhile, me and the guys lifted endless tons of various roofing materials in the heat. Bundle after bundle of 80 pound shingles, carefully setting them around the roof.
So eventually roofing got old, my envy won, and I decided to pursue truck driving. This was a much welcomed air conditioned/heated change. And such a huge change from all the brutal elements I had subjected myself to as a roofer. And after a short two year truck driving career I found myself laid off for the winter and bored.
It Was A Prime Winter For Ice Dams With Lots Of Snow And Cold
So that winter, after a phone conversation with my brother I decided to start a window cleaning business. And I quickly found myself in love with the idea of owning a business. However, I really missed my roofing background. So I decided to get out as a new business owner and advertise my ability as a roofer to remove ice dams and stop roof leaks. It was a prime winter with lots of snow and cold.
So I focused my efforts on going door to door, in small neighborhoods with flyers, targeting homes with obvious leaks & ice dam issues. And this was an immediate success. Therefore I was now using all the knowledge I gained as a roofer to help homeowners in need. It was a great feeling. And ice dam steaming quickly became my life, and has been ever since. Over 20 years in the ice dam removal trade.
Our First Knowledge Of Companies Using Pressure Washers On Roofs To Remove Ice Dams
So from here on the story gets really interesting! One cold winter morning with the steamer fired up in a customers driveway I heard someone yelling to me. A man was yelling to me from a beautiful new truck attached to a huge enclosed trailer. The man owned a roofing company with his business name all across the side of both. He looked very professional. However, I will never forget the words the man yelled to me. He said, “Hey is that a pressure washer?” I replied, “No it’s a steamer!” The man quickly exited his truck and ran towards me to shake my hand saying, “Man am I glad to meet you!”
He quickly confessed to me these exact words, “I have pressure washed 40-50 roofs this winter and I have destroyed all of them trying to remove the ice.” To his confession I replied, “Wait a minute. So you are taking their money, and destroying their roof?!! He looked down and replied, “Yes!” I said, “Do the homeowners know you have wrecked their roof?” He said, “Yes, I have told them and I have promised to come back in the spring and replace the roofs or repair them.” So I replied, “Sounds like you are loosing money, and your reputation.” He looked down again in shame and said, “Yes I am!”
Can I See How The Steam Works On The Roof He Said
He then asked me, “Can I come up on the roof and see how the steam works?” I was hesitant, but I obliged. I pointed him towards the ladder. And at this point I really felt sorry for him. However I felt even worse for the homeowners with many new leaks in their roofs.
So once on the roof, he walks over to my technician who was steaming under the ice dam. He said, “So that doesn’t hurt the roof at all even when you’re that close? That’s amazing!” He continued by saying, “When I was doing that I cut holes in the roof all the way through the shingle and tar paper and not just in one spot, I cut holes all the way around the roof!”
I was so shocked to hear his confession and the fact he did not stop after cutting one or two holes in the roof! That is a day I will never forget.
He mentioned how it didn’t matter what different tips he used on the wand they all damaged shingles. And he also mentioned how when he let go of the trigger the burner turned off and the hot water got cold. Interesting stuff right?!
Limestone Removal = Premature Roof Failure
As a roofer I knew that even if to much shingle grit (limestone) gets removed from the shingle (example= hailstones) it would lead to premature roof failure. So I already knew about premature roof failure from the ARMA website. And as a roofer I had knowledge of warranties being voided if a pressure washer was used on them. However I never knew someone would try to remove ice dams with them.
So that’s how my eyes became opened to companies wrecking roofs while using pressure washers for ice dam removal. One mans confession that he single-handedly destroyed 40-50 roofs.
The Beginning Of Our Consumer Education On YouTube
From the beginning of my window cleaning business I had two goals in mind, use integrity and be very visual with pictures and videos. From that crazy encounter/confession on I did a lot of videos about ice dam steaming and I explained how pressure washers are dangerous.
Our intent was never to hurt anyone’s business by speaking about pressure washers. And at that time I had zero knowledge of any other different companies that used pressure washers on roofs. It was simply a passion to educate and help homeowners avoid roof damage.
Since then I have compiled the largest video library about ice dam removal on the internet. My company has traveled coast to coast removing ice dams from roofs with steam. Through my videos and travels I have made many contacts with companies nationwide. I consider them all to be good connections.
Historic 100+ Inch Snow Storm In Boston
And then it happened! The storm of the century! The historic Boston snow storm that dumped over 100″ of crippling snow around New England. Companies traveled from all across the US to shovel out Boston!
My company worked very hard to help properties that had water pouring through the ceilings. It was a daunting task, much to great for the multitude of people willing to remove ice dams and snow. Many homeowners found that no one was able to lend a hand at all. Everyone was desperate to have ice dams removed. However steam was not a known method on the East Coast yet.
We removed ice dams from literally hundreds of homes in New England. We worked long hours even in the dark. By the end of the season we were wiped out. Spring was a welcomed sight.
Why IDSAFE Was Born On A Long Ride Home From Boston
Spring arrived, ice dams melted and I was driving home. Then I received a phone call from an insurance inspector. And this is why IDSAFE was started.
The insurance inspector said, “Is this Jesse with Absolutely Clean Window Washing?” I said, “yes.” He said, “I am on the roof over here at this address and you were on the roof removing ice dams for many hours. And I can’t believe what I’m seeing up here!”
I thought, oh no he’s gonna blame me for someone’s hatchet marks or damage from hammers used by someone else. We definitely saw a lot of damage from incorrect ice removal methods under the ice we steam. And it’s impossible to remember all the roofs that we have steamed. However I quickly remembered this exact roof after he mentioned the customers name.
Steam = No Damage
I replied, “what are you seeing up there?” He said, “I am seeing no signs of any damage at all anywhere! Can you explain how you were up here for many hours clearing the gutters and the roof and there is not a single damaged shingle anywhere? I have inspected hundreds and hundreds of roofs after the ice dams have been removed and this is the first roof I have seen that has zero damage. Please explain to me how you did this!”
I spoke to him about low pressure ice dam steaming and how we remove the ice dams with zero damage. We had a very long conversation about the damages that he found on other roofs. And he said almost all the damage he saw was caused by pressure washers. He said the worst part is that the homeowners didn’t know any better and neither did the insurance companies.
Lack Of Knowledge In The Insurance Industry About Removing Ice Dams Correctly With Steam
He also said that because of the lack of knowledge in the insurance industry they were on the hook for a lot of the roofs being repaired or replaced. Insurance companies at that time did not advise homeowners about steam only. Most simply said find someone who can get there soon.
You see, ice dam steaming originated in MN over 60 years ago and was virtually unheard of out East. So Boston was an easy target for pressure washers to pose as steamers. What a mess!
Integrity Fueled The Birth Of IDSAFE
On that long ride home from Boston, lots of integrity, and a little bit of anger fueled the birth of IDSAFE. I knew that I could not slander the names of the companies that wrecked roofs in MA. However I knew I could promote the good companies who are using the correct equipment that I knew to be safe. So that is exactly how and why IDSAFE was born.
“A vision from a roofer with a passion to help homeowners avoid roof damage.”
Before the official launch of IDSAFE several board members were established. New member requirements, qualifications and disqualifications were put in place. Equipment verification policies established. On site visit teams elected. Member pledges drafted etc. This was a team effort combining the most knowledgeable steam people together. IDSAFE is not a one man show but instead it’s a multi tiered establishment combining the brightest minds in the ice dam steaming industry.
“IDSAFE combined people with years of ice dam steaming experience & integrity together in one platform.”