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Hey! You Guys Damaged My Stuff!

We’re up on the roof, and big chunks of ice are popping off and sliding around. Sometimes things get beat up (including us!).  It’s not something we plan on, but it’s something we always plan to avoid – and usually do avoid – by taking precautions.

I want to explain our philosophy on damage, how and why some things do get damaged, and what you can do to help us prevent damage to your property while we’re out on the roof.

What can sometimes get damaged?

Anything that’s sitting around close to the roof and underneath the “line of fire” for ice chunks, could potentially get damaged. If you’ve got a patio set, for example, then there’s a potential for an ice chunk to slide off and hit it as we work.

We’d like you to tell us of anything “hiding” under the snow that we can’t see.  You can either move it yourself, ask us to move it, or leave it and tell us to be mindful of it.

But if you expect us not to chunk-cut the ice off your roof, and instead want us to melt it all from the top-down, that could cost you hundreds (if not thousands) of dollars extra.  We’ll do it if you want, but it’s much slower.

Moving everything out of the way when possible is the best option.  It gives us more places where we can simply chunk the ice off your roof instead of melting it all away with the steamer.  It also reduces the chances of a mishap.

Also, shrubs can get damaged.  (But we’ll talk about shrubs more in a minute.)

What if there’s something we can’t move out of the way?

Whenever something can’t be moved, we take the time to make sure we’re aware of it. For example, you can’t move your AC unit or your gas meter, and we certainly don’t want to harm them.  So we won’t chunk ice off the roof in those places.  Above your AC or gas meter, we’ll gingerly melt off the ice instead.  Problem solved.  Just make sure to point out anything that is buried under the snow, or we won’t know it’s there, or it’s exact whereabouts.  No need to pay us to trudge around your home in search of your gas meter, AC unit, and/or any additional goodies hidden beneath the snowpack.

Accidents happen

Ice dam removal is skilled labor. It takes a little talent and a lot of practice.  But even experienced hands can’t always predict exactly what’s going on with a giant piece of frozen water when it releases its grip from your rooftop.  If we had X-ray vision and could see all the way down to the molecular structure of a piece of ice we might be able to prevent some problems, but we can’t.

So sometimes, we’re carefully melting a piece of ice only to discover too late that the ice had a fault line.  The ice snaps away before we can stop it, slides right off the roof, and breaks something.  Although it rarely happens, it is almost always unavoidable when it does.

What about my shrubs?

We certainly do everything possible to save your shrubbery, but while keeping your pocketbook a priority.  We don’t pay for replacement plantings should something get squashed.  Not because we aren’t a tree-hugging, hard-recyclin’, quinoa-eating bunch of guys.  And certainly not because we’re cheap (each one of our steamers costs about as much as a used car).

But just think about it.  Let’s say that you’re paying roughly many hundreds of dollars an hour.  Do you really want us to melt every last crystal of ice from the top-down just to save a shrub that you could replace for $20 to $100?  They’re probably not ancient redwoods.

Or think of the opposite situation.  We take an extra hour or two to remove your ice dam, and charge you significantly extra, but you don’t have to buy a new shrub!  Oh, and by the way, in those extra hours your home could have sprung a leak that might have been avoided, had we removed your ice dam using the most efficient method (chunk-cutting).  You may have to pay for water damage restoration, mold remediation, new walls and a new ceiling, and a new bed for your cat.  But at least you still have your shrub.

But…if you’re willing to except the fact that your project will take longer, we are more than happy to work around shrub you’d like us to.  Just let us know that a particular planting is important (or all your plantings are important) and we’ll very slowly melt your ice dam from the top down to minimize the chance of any chunks of ice falling from your roof.  We’re happy to do this for you, and we’ll do it as quick as humanly possible.

What happens when you damage something?

Of course, if you go with some fly-by-night ice dam company who claims to be insured when he really isn’t, then there’s not much that can be done.

But we’re different.  If it’s not a shrub, and assuming you informed us about it before we started the job, you’re going to get money for a replacement.  That’s what our insurance is for – although we rarely turn anything into our insurance.  In fact, in 20+ years we haven’t turned in a single jobsite-related claim to our insurance company.  In an effort to keep our insurance rates down we almost always pay for these types of accidents out of our own pocket.  Of course, we don’t want to make a habit of breaking people’s stuff and making insurance claims, but in the rare event it happens, we’ve got you’re covered.

We only require one very important thing – that you inform us of anything of value surrounding your home that could be in the line of fire (i.e. within range of falling ice) before we begin your project.

Many customers even tell us about things they don’t care about.  Example: There’s an old patio table or grill on the back deck that we don’t care about.  If you can help it, don’t damage it, but we don’t want to prolong the ice dam removal process to protect it.

Just communicate your wishes to us and we’ll take great care of you.

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