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"People are getting ripped off": How to pick up on and avoid an ice dam scam

How to avoid ice dam scams
How to avoid ice dam scams 01:56

MINNETONKA, Minn. -- Steve Kuhl, CEO of the Ice Dam Company, says his workers have been busier than ever this winter season. A combination of heavy snow and fluctuating temperatures has created the perfect combination to create ice dams, he says.

"This has turned into quite a season, something that I haven't seen in at least a decade," Kuhl said. "There have been days where our phone just does not stop ringing. We are not able to service everyone, that's for sure. So far, we've done over 600 projects this year."

Ice dams can create long-term headaches for homeowners. They can lead to flooding, mold and more.

Kuhl says companies looking to cash in on profit have started to offer ice dam removal services despite not having the proper tools or know-how. In other situations, he says he suspects other companies have done jobs deliberately slow to milk customers for extra money. Kuhl says this could lead to jobs costing more than four times what they should.

"People are taking advantage, to be quite honest, they're taking advantage of the situation because this is an emergency," he said. "Homeowners call us, sometimes in tears, because they've got water pouring in their ceilings. Some contractors recognize for the hourly rate you can bill for this work; it's a great way to make extra money."

Kuhl says a reputable company will use steamer tools, not pressure washers, to chunk out ice dams rather than melt them fully. He also says they'll work in teams of two.

"(These companies) are not professional roofers," he said. "Oftentimes, they'll pick up a machine -- oftentimes a pressure washer -- then they'll create a web page and call themselves an ice dam removal company."

Kuhl says his company website offers lists of what to look out for, as well as other ice dam remediation tricks.

"It makes me upset," he said, "because I know people are getting ripped off."

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