Average Cost of Ice Dam Removal
The average cost of professional ice dam removal is about $475-$875 an hour, typically. If you find ice dam removal for less than about $475 an hour, or for more than about $875 per hour, chances are you’re being hustled. Either you’re being played by a greenhorn, someone who is not insured specifically for ice dam removal, or by a company simply trying to cash in on your misfortune. If you get a quote outside of that general price range, either you’ve found a rookie or an unethical company has found you. But before you jump to conclusions, please read through this entire page.
For more info, see these resources: “Why Does Ice Dam Removal Cost So Darn Much?” and “Ice Dams by the Numbers: Facts & Figures on Ice Dam Removal, Prevention, & More.”
We’ve based our estimated average cost on 20+ years of removing ice dams professionally, and on 20+ years of figuring out what’s truly necessary to do the job right and on-time. We also base that number on the assumption that the ice dam removal company uses steam (and ice dam steamers of at least passable quality). Our figure doesn’t take into account the rates of companies that use hot-water low-temperature pressure washers, torches, or other inadequate methods. They can, should, and often do charge less for pantomiming ice dam removal, but non-steam methods will only kick the can down the road, as you’ll almost certainly be creating even bigger problems for yourself and your home in the coming weeks or months ahead. Worse, these other non-steam methods may not even solve your immediate problem.
Minimum charges. Often there is a minimum number of hours (e.g. 2-4 hours) for which homeowners will need to hire an ice dam removal company. Those minimums tend to be based on how long a relatively small job takes under generally smooth conditions to stop a home from leaking, not to remove the snow and ice from the entire rooftop! Jobs can often take much longer for a variety of reasons, including if the roof is large, if the weather is unusually bad, if the roof is hard to access or navigate, the ice is thicker, the ice further up your roof and not just along the edges, the ice is hard black ice vs. soft white ice, the snow is heavy and wet vs. light and powdery, or if access to water is difficult. There are plenty of other factors that can also make a job take longer, and you must understand that “what you see, is not necessarily what you get” when it comes to ice dam removal.
Beware of companies that don’t charge a minimum. Often they will cut corners, not finish the agreed-upon job, or they’ll use verbal or numerical gymnastics to fatten the invoice. You will only know about it when they’re at your home and won’t go home until you pay up.
Never assume that because your house is small it will take less time to deice. Although larger homes do often take longer, simply because they have more linear feet of overhang and valleys, but just because you have a smaller home does NOT necessarily mean your ice dam removal will go faster. In fact, smaller homes – especially rambler-type homes and homes with a shallow-pitched roof – can accumulate massive amounts of thick ice or vertical ice (i.e. ice that stretches up the roof rather than just along the edge) or both. For that reason, thick ice dams or vertically-forming ice dams on a smaller home can take just as long or longer to remove than a more-compact ice dam on a much larger home would take.
Of course, the quality of companies varies significantly, and just because an ice dam removal company charges a high rate doesn’t mean they’re good. Our rates happen to sit toward the higher end of the range. That’s because we offer the best service money can buy, which is also why we’re the best-reviewed ice dam removal in the US.
Some companies may need to charge more than the standard rates for ice dam removal if they’re offering a kind of “speedy service” guarantee, or same-day or next-day service, or if it’s a winter of extraordinary demand. Some heavy winters require a responsible and fair ice dam removal company to pay staff significant overtime, hire additional short-term staff, bring in out-of-state help, invest in more equipment, etc. Also, during peak season advertising costs can swell up to 20 times those of the ho-hum periods. Add to all of that rising inflation, labor costs, the costs of finding and retaining good people, fuel costs, and so on, and you’ve got a pricy environment for every business, including and especially an ice dam removal business. Keep in mind that a specialized ice dam removal business keeps and maintains its equipment for 10- months out of every year, only to put into service for 6-8 weeks annually.
Should you expect ice dam removal costs to stay the same? No, because the costs of doing safe, effective, and fast work also fluctuate – over time and sometimes within the same season. Costs that bob up and down the most are advertising costs, and the price of finding and keeping good technicians. Those drive up hourly rates the most. All this said, we avoid charging more unless there’s just no feasible alternative.
The costs don’t only go up, though: Sometimes we lower them. Where and when the snow falls is the main factor that can drive costs down. For instance if we send lots of our out-of-state technicians to help with an explosion in calls, and then suddenly the call volume drops, often we’ll need to take on smaller or lower-rate jobs so as to keep our techs busy and paid. We’ll do just about anything to make sure they stay busy and happy so that they remain commented to the winter season and are there for us (i.e., our customers) when the next wave of winter hits hard.
Beware of companies that rely too much on media appearances to convince you they’re good. We say that as a company that’s been filmed and interviewed more times than you can shake a stick at, and more times than any other ice dam removal company (that we know of). We’re proud of those many appearances, and grateful that we could spread a little awareness and probably connect with a few more customers.
The trouble is that the media are experts at finding STORIES, but not at finding experts. Their vetting of companies consists of seeing who can yammer for 90 seconds, of which maybe 15 seconds will air. They can’t tell whether the company carries the correct insurance or any insurance, or whether the owner employs ex-cons (or is an ex-con himself), people with prohibitively serious medical conditions, or people who’ve never been trained to work on an icy roof. They also can’t tell whether the owners simply don’t know what they’re talking about or try to pull a fast one on the audience. For instance, if the owner of an ice dam removal company points to a steamer unit with a trigger and one without a trigger and says “Don’t hire a company that uses a trigger,” the journalist won’t know why that’s a dishonest statement, and can’t push back. The journalist’s job is to find the right people for a story, not the right people for the important job you need done right. The journalist may be very professional and welcome in your living room, but they may not find the kinds of professionals you want within 100 yards of your home.
Just compare what you see on the news, online, or in the paper with what customers say and with what your gut feeling tells you.
Here are a few other resources on ice dam removal costs in general:
Why Does Ice Dam Removal Cost So Darn Much?
3 Ways to Minimize Ice Dam Removal Costs
Ice Dam Removal Costs & Your Insurance
Need Ice Dam Removal? Do Your Homework Before You Hire