When it comes to removing ice dams, steam means different things to different people. Just like the word “truck” can mean a semi truck, a pickup truck or a hand truck, steam invokes different images to different people.
So we want to talk about what a roof steamer is and isn’t. To be safe on asphalt roofing material, the water temperature must be hot enough to change the output consistency from harsh water droplets to a gentle, directed cloud of steam. Usually this change in spray happens around 240°F-250°F, but that can vary based on elevation, humidity and outdoor temperature.
A specialty steamer, like the Arctic Steamer, relies on high temperatures to produce steam and low pressure to ensure the roof is not damaged. A steamer is equipped with specific accessories to direct steam to effectively and SAFELY melt ice on asphalt roofing material.
Pressure washers with the pressure turned down or the heat turned up are not adequate to protect the roof. Pressure from a typical washer nozzle is harsh and can remove of the shingle’s granules, allowing the sun’s UV rays to prematurely deteriorate the roof. Damage to shingles from a pressure washer isn’t always immediately evident. The damage shows up years later when those shingles start curling and are visibly deteriorated.
The Right Equipment for Ice Dam Removal
We know that steamers with special equipment work best for removing ice dams. Steamers DO NOT have a trigger gun to start and stop the pull work safely on a roof for ice dam removal. Steamers that use a pressure washer nozzle are NOT effective on ice dams.
NEVER LET A PERSON REMOVE ICE DAMS FROM YOUR ROOF IF THE MACHINE IS EQUIPPED with a “gun” that has a trigger handle and a nozzle that looks like this:
A roof steamer must have an open gun—no trigger—and a steam nozzle to be safe for your roof:
We sell pressure washers, but never for the removal of ice dams. We sell the Arctic Steamer because we know it will safely remove ice dams. There are many companies using hot-water pressure washers for ice dam removal and causing damage and premature roof deterioration. Most of these companies know what they are doing and don’t care, many even misrepresent their product and claim they are using steam, others think they have steam and are just ignorant to the damage they are causing.
There are reputable steamers from many companies, however we have never seen these brands make a steamer, nor have we witnessed a machine by these brands that was converted to a steamer. The Arctic Steamer is a steamer you can rely on to remove ice dams safely. Call American Pressure, Inc. if you have questions about what your contractor is using.
Click here to see demo videos showing steam vs. hot water to remove ice dams.
Click here to see a recent news story on ice dam removal scams.