Winnipeg roofing companies are swamped with calls from homeowners battling ice dams, leaks and blocked vents.

Dave Samms, who owns Power Roofing, said in his 20 years in business this winter is unprecedented in terms of the number of people calling for help.

"We, basically, can't keep up to all the calls. We are probably getting close to 35 to 50

[per day],” he said, noting that is about double the number at this time last year.
Ice dam

Homeowners are advised to get as much snow as they can off their roofs to avoid ice dams like this. (CBC)

"They are having leaks running down through their windows, through their doorways. And they just really want to have that ice dam removed and the snow taken off their roof. And they are usually in a bit of a panic situation, understandably.”

Samms said his staff have been working through the weekend and there is currently about a two-day wait for service.

Over at Krueger Enterprises, David Bain said it’s just as busy.

“We have a few crews going out and doing these calls, and we’re turning people away at this point just because we don’t have the manpower to get to get to them,” said Bain.

But not everyone’s calling for repairs – many people want to stop a leak before it starts.

“A lot of calls have been for preventative maintenance – to get that snow off the roof, to take care of the shingles before it becomes a bigger problem,” said Curtis Talman of Allied Roofing.

It can take crews hours to clear roofs. If they don’t, it leads to major problems for homeowners.

“Either by the sun melting it or heat loss from inside the house [it’s] melting the snow. As the snow comes down the slope of the house, it hits the cold zone, which is the overhang,” said Bain. “It freezes there, and more snow keeps melting and melting. It hits the ice and keeps building up.”

Eventually, Bain said, it gets under the shingles.

On Monday, Bain cleared a home with almost half a metre of ice on the roof.

His advice to homeowners who want to prevent water from getting inside? Clear your roof or call a company to do it – sooner rather than later.