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Ice Dam Removal for Office Buildings

For commercial landlords and their business tenants, winter storms with icy sidewalks pose safety challenges for those visiting the office. At a minimum, one accidental slip and a broken wrist later will have your property insurance getting a claim to cover their medical expenses. Worst case scenario, they seek personal injury damages and workers’ compensation too!

To avoid injuries and situations like this, it’s common practice to shovel the sidewalks and plow the employee parking lot. This allows all team members to walk safely as they need. But do you regularly check for and try to prevent ice dams from forming around the office’s roof? You should, considering they’ve been responsible for various deaths and injuries over the years when they fall on those below.

Learn more about ice dam management and how landlords partnering with tenant leadership can keep everyone safe this winter.Ice Dam Guys help office buildings with ice dam removals. This photo shows a professional office building with ice dams hanging over the gutters.

Understanding Ice Dams on Office Buildings:

  • Formation: Ice dams occur on the overhanging edges of your office building and gutters. When snow melts on warmer parts of the roof, usually higher up and in the sun, it refreezes when it reaches these cold edges. This results in the creation of an ice dam that prevents proper drainage thanks to frozen gutters and downspouts. North-facing sides of the building or those under significant tree shade can experience this even worse. Rinse and repeat several more times, and eventually, you have a 1,000+ pound beast on your roof!​​
  • Risks: Ice dams can easily lead to water pooling on the roof. Best case scenario, you have absolutely no flaws on our roof and you’re golden. More likely, however, there is a vulnerability and this water may expose it. Commonly we see leaky ceilings, collapsed ceilings, ruined drywall, and damage to recessed lighting. But you also pose the more worrisome risk of allowing mold to form in insulation and materials that are overlooked. Mold can lead to serious respiratory and health issues, so that’s best avoided.
  • Prevention: Effective prevention efforts include fixing any heat leaks into the attic, damaged vents or materials, improving insulation after receiving an energy audit, and regular snow removal from roofs (especially flat-roofed offices).

Ice Dam Guys help office buildings with ice dam removals. This photo shows a two-story professional office building with very large icicles and ice dams hanging over the gutters. It's clear they need help.

Strategies for Ice Dam Prevention and Control:

  • Ventilated Roofs: Implementing a ventilated roof system helps keep the roof deck cold enough to prevent snow from melting. This can be achieved through a “cold attic” design or a compact roofing system with adequate ventilation​.
  • Sealing Attic Bypasses or Air Leaks: Ensure that your building is well-sealed to prevent warm air from leaking out and melting the snow on the roof​​ or from artificially heating your attic. Check areas like your recessed lighting, ceiling fans, and any air registers that may be in the ceiling for leaks.
  • Insulation Management: Proper insulation in the roof and attic area is crucial to maintaining a consistent roof temperature and preventing ice dams. While an upfront expense, an energy audit is a one-time task that can easily save you costly damages over the coming years!

Ice Dam Guys help office buildings with ice dam removals. This photo shows a mixed-use building with offices and retail. There is snow piled high out front and large icicles hang from the roof.

Communicating with Employees and Maintenance:

  • Employee Awareness Campaigns: Educate your tenants about the signs and risks of ice dams, while encouraging them to perform visual inspections as they come inside each day. Show them visuals of what ice dams look like so they know when to report any that are potentially forming.
  • Educating Maintenance Staff: Likewise, ensure that your maintenance team is knowledgeable about ice dams and can take immediate action if spotted. Ideally, you would have mentioned this to them over the summertime, which would have allowed them time to have a professional energy audit performed before winter. But if you can’t, at least share with them how they can help prevent ice dams.

Managing ice dams at office buildings requires a combination of effective communication with tenants and maintenance staff, timely preventative measures, and calling a professional in an ice dam emergency! By adopting these measures, commercial landlords and company leaders can protect their properties from the damaging effects of ice dams and ensure a safe and comfortable environment for their employees.

If you have any questions or need emergency ice dam removal for your office building, please call us at 1-800-423-3267 or contact us online. We’re ready to take your call 24/7.

We often experience extreme call volume during peak ice dam season. Therefore, we encourage you to please call us as early as possible.

Mention you read our Ice Dam Awareness: Office Buildings and we’ll take 10% off your project!

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