New Construction and Remodeling Winona MN

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Removing Ice Dams with Steam:
Roof Ice & Gutter Ice Steaming

We remove ice dams with steam. We use a specialized machine to generate steam to melt ice. A steamer takes regular, cold tap water and heats it to 280 degrees. This steam is forced through a hose and wand and it comes out as a thin, low-pressure steam used to cut through ice. We cut the dam into chunks and throw the chunks from the roof.

A steamer is not the same thing as a high pressure washer. There are some that claim a high pressure washer can do the same job as our expensive ice dam steamer. A high-temperature pressure washer is identical to what one might find at a self-service carwash with warmed water in the system. Our ice dam steamers is an expensive, specialized machine and, unlike pressure washers, have few uses other than ice removal. We’ve invested in the best equipment available for you – we didn’t just “rig up” a pressure washer to provide hot water. We invested in the safest, fastest equipment available on the marketplace.

Look at the differences between high-temp pressure washers and steamers:


High Temp washer

Our Ice Dam Steamer

Gallons per minute

5 gallons per minute

2 gallons per minute


120-180 degrees

280-290 degrees


1000-3000 psi

Less than 250psi


Relies on heat & force to remove dams

Relies on heat to remove dams


Notice how the high temperature washer generates a lot of water during the ice removal process and the pressure it uses can actually force water up under your shingles causing further damage. Our steamer uses very little water and doesn’t need pressure to remove your dams.

Other choices?

We’ve seen many other “advanced technology” efforts such as chain saws, sand blasters, axes, sledge hammers, picks and the like. All of these require force and can cause a wide variety of other problems to your roof. We’ve even seen “passive” efforts of ice removal; ice-melt compound and heat. Ice-melt compounds can be an effective way to manage ice under certain circumstances, but will definitely damage a shingled roof - not to mention what it can do to your plants and concrete below.

The second non-mechanical method of ice removal is electric heat. This method uses a lot of electricity and is not environmentally responsible. In the case of ice dams on roofs, steam is the fastest, most effective and safest for the home.

The Cost of Doing Nothing

Don’t want to spend money on removing your ice dam? Do you think your ice dam is no big deal? Think again – below are some photos of homeowners who thought the same thing. Most of the homeowners who have serious damage think their insurance will protect them from this cost – you may want to talk to your agent before assuming that.

ice dam damage

steamer for removing ice dams

contact ellefson builders

Mike Ellefson
507.474.9060 (office)
507.450.7465 (cell)
507.474.1005 (fax)

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