Roofer warns of winter woes; ice dams a headache for North Dakota homeowners

Published: Nov. 25, 2022 at 11:43 AM CST
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BISMARCK, N.D. (KFYR) - The winter storm two weeks ago left feet of snow piled up on roofs around North Dakota. Now, with a recent rise in temperatures it’s bringing homeowners headaches.

Bismarck homeowners Wayne and Candace Richter say they noticed water coming into their home just after the storm.

“The water started dripping off of the window up here. We started to see it streaking down the corner of the wall here,” said Wayne Richter, Bismarck resident, as he pointed to the wall of his home.

The problem came from above.

“Underneath the snow we saw that there was a sheet of ice that went back about 12 feet. Even back about 12 feet the ice was still about an inch thick,” said Jesse Lofgren, owner of Absolutely Clean Window Washing.

“There was so much up there. I could not believe it,” said Candace Richter, Bismarck resident.

Roofer Jesse Lofgren says heat loss in the home melted the snow and pooled on the roof. It formed an ice dam that prevents snowmelt from draining off. Jesse got to work removing the ice.

“When he opened up the next one, it was like the Garrison Dam broke,” said Wayne.

Jesse says it was one of the largest ice dams he’s seen this storm.

“Ice dams can cause complete devastation to the interior of your home, also to the exterior of your home. It will come in through your ceilings. It will come through your windows and doors,” said Jesse.

The warning signs: icicles behind gutters and down your siding. Jesse says if you see ice on your sidings, it could be a day or a couple of days before water finds its way in. Once the leak forms, the problem continues to grow.

“A small drip that you might see coming into your home, might turn into a bathtub,” said Jesse.

The homeowners say they’re glad Jesse cleared their roof before the problem got worse.

Jesse adds it’s not a good idea to use objects like hammers, chisels, or pressure washers on your roof to get rid of ice because they can damage shingles. Instead, he says steam or heat cables are the way to go. He says don’t be afraid to check your roofer’s equipment and ask about the steps of the project before he heads up the ladder.

Jesse says he’ll come back to North Dakota in future blizzards. Visit North Dakota Roof Snow Removal | Insured (20+Yrs Exp) ( to learn more.