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Funny/strange request by customer

Discussion in 'Ice Management' started by NW Snow Removal, Jan 8, 2010.

  1. NW Snow Removal

    NW Snow Removal Senior Member
    Messages: 533

    we have a customer with all the gutters and their drains are all frozen on the shady side of his building. Now the thawed snow from the roof is dripping over the gutters and running down the backside of his building and creating a solid sheet of ice. One backdoor had 1" of ice and could not be opened until we broke the ice (it's been in the 10-20 degree range for a couple weeks in chicago) He wants us to get rid of the ice in the gutters and the drains.

    He asked can u salt it? Since they are seasonal I told him yes we can salt it, but the contract doesn't cover your gutter issues and if we need to come out I will have to charge him time and materials. Now I gotta send him a waiver since he said not to come. what could you even do to thaw the drain? we can't come up with anything logical. aside from replacing the drains.
  2. NW Snow Removal

    NW Snow Removal Senior Member
    Messages: 533

    He is also foreign and I'm not even 100% sure he understood my explanation of how with the constant minor thawing and refreezing he now has a small glacier forming in the shady side of his building. Property owners without a mastery of the english language are too funny. They want it done, but they can't tell you how to do it! LOL!
  3. forestfireguy

    forestfireguy PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,276

    Sounds like a warm season drainage project upsell to me........I sell loads of drainage work every spring(well I sell it in the winter, but do most in the spring, unless we get a warm spell) Sell him the service of piping it underground to eliminate this issue going forward.
  4. Pennings Garden

    Pennings Garden Senior Member
    from VA
    Messages: 242

    I don't think putting a little salt on it is going to solve him problem, you need to dump a boat load of salt on a cutter to defrost the whole thing, the salt is just going to "bore" thru the ice and lay in the bottom of the gutter. how are you going to get it up there to begin with?

    you can try to sell him on a "heat cord". we use them in our greenhouses to defrost the gutters. you mount that either in or right under the gutter. they are not cheaper and not cheap to run either, but you gotta do what you gotta do... you need to get the ice out before you can install this anyway...
  5. mycirus

    mycirus Senior Member
    from Mass
    Messages: 589

    I would try a kerosene heater at the drain and melt it away.
  6. Camden

    Camden PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,604

    I had to remove ice from the gutters of a ski lodge once and I used a two foot long 2x4 that I had wrapped with a towel. I held it under the gutter while I tapped on it with a hammer. The ice cracked into big chunks and I just scooped out the pieces by hand. It worked like a dream and there was no collateral damage to the gutters either.
  7. NW Snow Removal

    NW Snow Removal Senior Member
    Messages: 533

    I meant that we can salt the glacier forming on his lot, not the gutters. The upsell of underground drainage is something I thought, but would have to sub it all out and it wouldn't be cheap and this guys is foreign and is a tightwad. the kerosene heater is a good idea if he really wants to get it out. My guess is his chap ass will sign the waiver and let the back lot become a glacier til the thaw. I just thought it was hilarious when he asked if we could salt the gutters. I almost laughed out loud when he asked.
  8. NW Snow Removal

    NW Snow Removal Senior Member
    Messages: 533

    I wonder how I could convert this idea to work on the drains. since they are enclosed and metal I guess we could hammer on them from the side starting down low and the ice will crack and fall to the bottom. hmmmmmm.
  9. fireball

    fireball PlowSite.com Veteran
    Messages: 545

    not to worry, we will get on it come June
  10. 2COR517

    2COR517 PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 7,115

    Actually, treating gutters is not uncommon. Last year there was a roofing guy on the news talking about it. They used Calcium Chloride I believe.
  11. dlcs

    dlcs 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,160

    Get up on the roof and put calcium in the gutters.
  12. dlcs

    dlcs 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,160

    Also, lay heat tape in the gutters that will help solve the problem in the future.
  13. Gettindirty

    Gettindirty Member
    Messages: 38

    The ice is in the parking lot not the gutters? Then charge him per salt event. If he signs a waiver to not have you remove the ice then no worries. You can salt the roof and gutters but the climb with buckets/bags of ice melt may stink. Good luck
  14. leon

    leon Senior Member
    Messages: 872

    clogged roof drains and gutters


    The quickest way to handle that is to use a
    propane or kerosene salamader of 100,000
    btu and keep it about four feet or so away
    from any and all downspouts while heating
    them to break and melt the ice wth the heat
    from the salamander.

    Been there done that it works quickly;
    his gutters are obviously plugged from
    debris such as dead animals, bird or
    squirrel nests and or have sagged and
    no longer drain properly.

    Once the down spouts are warm they act like
    a heat funnel and its a matter of watching the
    pot boil etc.

    A steel barrel with both ends cut out of it will
    direct the heat more efficiently too- saying that some
    sheet metal furnace duct(sized to fit over the salamander)
    may be easier to obtain and use locally and little heat would
    be lost as the flow of air from the salamander will be more

    The salamander could be further away from any wooden
    or vinyl siding to reduce any potential heat damage.

    He obviously has a drainage problem that has been overlooked
    and not repaired if this is his first winter season etc.
    If the drains were open and gutters clean and sloped properly
    there would be no issues with ice until it freezes again-the problem
    is that the gutters may be clogged with debris and it wil reoccur.
    Having heat tape, over the roof edges and in the gutters as well as
    ice barrier shelids on the edges and clean gutters are year round
    must in areas with snow and ice.

    The other issue is safe access to the rain gutters and how many of the
    rain gutters spill into one another or are free draining to the ground as
    any material will simply collect in the last gutter run if it is open due to
    gravity no matter how much of a gully washer of a rainstorm one may have.

    It will end up being two or three day proposition to heat and empty the down
    spouts most likely and then the problem will re occur until spring when the weather
    becomes more mild- saying that the gutters have to be cleaned due to the ice build
    up problems to eliminate the issue next fall prior to snow.

    Last edited: Jan 9, 2010
  15. I used to always get the same problem with my garage. Dump a couple of bags of water softener salt pellets in the gutters in the fall, problem solved. then the brine runoff reduces icing. Just don't let it drain onto grass ..

    I don't know how it would work on ice buildup.. I'd try calcium chloride ,

    On the back of my house I use heat cables. they work well, but use a lot of electricity.
  16. NW Snow Removal

    NW Snow Removal Senior Member
    Messages: 533

    both. now that the gutter drains are completely frozen the drainage is overrunning the frozen gutters and dripping down the back of the building and onto the parking lot creating the glacier. He is so cheap so the waiver is the way to go. I like all the ideas though in case he wants us to fix it. Thanks. Plowsite works again.
  17. eshskis

    eshskis Senior Member
    from 4
    Messages: 138

    Over 16 F-in posts on this subject......not one of them mentions the route cause of Ice damming at the gutter line, for all the guys suggesting underground drainage installs before you sell that as a solution and cash their checks and later get sued in demand for their money back, I suggest you brush up on the subject before taking anybodies money.
  18. cretebaby

    cretebaby PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 4,162

    So.......what is the root cause of the ice dam?

    I know what it is, just wondering what your take on it is.

    I thought the same thing about the underground drainage.
  19. eshskis

    eshskis Senior Member
    from 4
    Messages: 138

    Ya, gutter drainage through the downspouts in clean gutters has in most cases nothing to do with ice damming. Some of the above posts are Flat Out BS.

    It wouldn't be my take on it it would be the construction industry's standards take on it. In most ice damming situations the cause is uneven roof temperatures, improper insulation, and or lack of ventilation, the gutters rarely have anything to do with it they just happen to be their filled with ice from the dam so they are put to blame. UMass Amherst has done allot of reasearch on this. Apparently their are no experienced landscapers or builders or developers in the above posts.

    Last edited: Jan 10, 2010
  20. forestfireguy

    forestfireguy PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,276

    I was under the impression that this was frozen run-off on the surface. From downspouts terminating above ground.