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Downspouts-thawing and freezing

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by kmangin, Dec 11, 2010.

  1. kmangin

    kmangin Junior Member
    from Midwest
    Messages: 7

    We have a few properties with downspouts that drain into the parking lot. Now that we have snow and freezing temps at night, the downspouts continue to thaw and freeze creating ice in the parking lots. The downspouts themselves are completely iced over. Any idea on how to fix this problem at the source(downspout)?? Anything out there to heat the downspouts? BTW, these are seasonal contracts so service cost is on us.

  2. Rc2505

    Rc2505 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,245

    I would suggest using a heat tape type of thing. Put it in the gutters, and it will keep them thawed out. As long as the gutters are thawed and flowing correctly, you shouldn't ever get any back up in the down spouts themselves. I put a couple in at an office building a couple winters ago, and haven't had any problems since. I think they cost me about 60 or 70 dollars each.
  3. kmangin

    kmangin Junior Member
    from Midwest
    Messages: 7

  4. JohnnyU

    JohnnyU 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,040

    I think it sounds like a perfect opportunity to sell the customer on trenching and burying their downspouts. This makes for a nicer appearance of the property, and eliminates these types of problems. If you do this type of service, it sounds like a win-win situation.
  5. kmangin

    kmangin Junior Member
    from Midwest
    Messages: 7


    I agree completely and we could cover this scope. However due to the design of the building and parking lot, it would be a very expensive project. One worth mentioning to the owners, but likely dismissed due to the cost. Thanks for the input!
  6. NW Snow Removal

    NW Snow Removal Senior Member
    Messages: 533

    put this in your contract next year

    The above prices do not cover services required at your property due to slippery conditions caused by water main breaks, leaking drains/gutters or tenant/resident actions (dumping or draining water onto lot or walks). Customer acknowledges that Contractor is not a 24 hour monitoring service and it is the customer’s responsibility to notify Contractor of adverse lot conditions arising 24 hours after the end of the winter storm event and additional charges may be required.
  7. kmangin

    kmangin Junior Member
    from Midwest
    Messages: 7

    NW-We failed to add anything like this into our contract. We will certainly add this next year!!

    Thanks for the suggestion and verbiage.
  8. cretebaby

    cretebaby PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 4,162

    You can also put water softener pellets into the gutter before the first storm.
  9. Matson Snow

    Matson Snow PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,985

    :rolleyes:.....Thumbs Up
  10. snocrete

    snocrete Banned
    Messages: 2,862

    I think that might work faster & longer.

    I'm sure he will have guys fighting over who gets to be the lucky one climbing up on the roof/or ladder to do that:rolleyes:.....sounds like a problem they (property owner) need to fix. Otherwise they can keep paying you to come out and salt.

    I like JohnU's idea....make them aware its a problem... and that it can be remedied for a fee. Could lead to some more work (easy work imo, I do alot of this) for you...and save them some winter expenses (and potential lawsuits).
  11. leon

    leon Senior Member
    Messages: 872

    down spouts and ice

    As the gutters are obviously plugged,
    the quickest way to open them up to
    clear conditions is to use a
    kerosene fired salamander pointed at
    the down spout base-elbow before the
    horizontal leg to the parking lots.
    (only if you have metal gutters)

    It melts the ice quickly and it drains quickly
    as the downspouts quickly transfer the heat
    of combustion created by the salamander
    to the ice and it melts quickly.

    I use a 110,000 BTU Kerosene fired salamander
    when ice becomes an issue for downspouts if the
    drains are blocked by snow build up.

    This method has worked for me for many years and I
    have had the same salamander for almost 17 years
    now with only an igniter and a new cord for

    Suggesting to the property owner that they should
    invest in "Gutter Helmet" for the rain gutters will
    save you a lot of aggravation but the use of a
    salamander is faster and the labor involved
    is wheeling the salamander to the down spout
    and firing up a generator and plugging it in.

    What you need is heat and a lot of it concentrated
    within a small area and the smallest salamander will
    do that quickly for you.
  12. Rc2505

    Rc2505 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,245

    Yes that is basically the same product I used. The up front costs are realitivly cheap, and the operating cost are on the customer, since you will be plugging them in to their electric supply.