Category Archives: Roof Deicing

Designing GutterMelt Systems

When planning a Heat Tracing system for your home or business, it is important to consider all of the factors to ensure you purchase the correct quality and quantity of components. Let’s take a look at the information and decisions needed to design a GutterMelt self regulating roof deicing system.

First, the cable selection must be made. Warmquest carries GutterMelt in both 120 and 240/208/277 volt options, the appropriate voltage for your project should be selected. Generally 240V power allows for longer lengths of cable to be installed per circuit.

In addition to voltage, the heating output should be considered. GutterMelt is a self regulating cable, meaning the heat output adjusts based on ambient air temperature. Warmquest offers 2 different heating outputs, both measured in the watts per foot generated at 32 degrees Fahrenheit in water. Our 9W cable is suitable for many residential installations, while the 12W is a great fit for colder climates and commercial projects.

Once you have selected a cable, a decision on how it will be powered should be made. While a hard wired connection may be tidier, many homeowners may opt to have a plug installed at the end of the cable for ease of use and installation. If a plug is selected, the outlet and plug need to match the voltage of cable used. Ground Fault protection will be required, this can be integrated into the plug assembly or provided at the circuit to meet code requirements.

To plan the appropriate amount of heat tape, the locations for installation will need to be selected and measured. Gutters and downspouts are easily measured for lengths, when installing in downspouts consideration should be made as to whether the cable will use a “T Kit” to send a single cable down the spout or if a loop down the spout back up to the gutter will be made. This will determine the number of T Kits and Downspout Brackets needed.

Eaves and valleys are commonly heated as well. When planning for these spaces, Warmquest recommends the cables be extended up the roof beyond the interior wall. With the length of the space and the height up the roof our team can calculate the cable needed for effective coverage. This will also take into account the spacing between the zig zag pattern of cable which typically runs from 18”-24”.

Once the lengths needed are determined, our team can design the system and identify the correct number and size of circuits for the project. This will determine what other components are needed for connections. GutterMelt can be activated in several ways. We’ve already discussed plugs, but there are dozens of switches and sensors that can operate the heat tracing cable based on temperature, snowfall, and other factors. Warmquest’s experts can help you identify the best options for your project based on usage and the icing issues being addressed.

Lastly, the system will need to be attached to the roof. Based on your roofing material (asphalt shingles, metal, etc), your Warmquest salesperson can identify the most suitable selection of clips or adhesives for anchoring the system to the roof.

Contact us today for a complimentary quote and learn more about how GutterMelt can help you manage ice dams and other winter woes.

Ice Dam Solutions

Roofs are important, they keep your home or business warm and dry. At least they should, but sometimes your roof may not shed water and snow effectively, this can lead to ice and snow buildup that creates icicles and ice dams. If left unchecked, these issues can compromise your roof and lead to water damage inside the building.

So how do you prevent Ice Dams? Let’s take a look.

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4 Types of Ice Dam Damage

iciclesThe best time to start preparing for winter woes like snow removal and ice dams is before they become a problem. If you have ever struggled with ice dams you know how important proper preparation can be. Ice dams can cause serious damage to a structure and cleanup can cost thousands. Here are four things to watch out for.

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Roof Deicing: Where to Install Heat

Ice dams, icicles, snow load, and other winter weather issues can wreak havoc on your roof. Fortunately a variety of roof deicing solutions exist to reduce or eliminate snow and ice buildup.

In order to effectively control and prevent ice dams and other issues, roof deicing systems must be installed in the proper locations. We have spoken at length about the differences in over and under roof heating systems elsewhere, in this article we will be looking at where to place heat in order to combat ice dams and winter woes.

Most ice dams and icicle issues occur along the eaves of a roof. As heat loss from the building melts snow on the roof, the runoff refreezes along the cold eave. When installing both our under roof ZMesh and Invizimelt systems as well as our GutterMelt heat tracing cables, we recommend heating along the eave, and ensuring the heat is brought all the way up past the interior wall of the building. This ensures that melting snow and ice will be able to run off the roof without refreezing. It is also important to heat all the way to the edge of the eave. With under roof systems this is fairly simple, but when planning GutterMelt installations it is important to allow the cable to run right to and slightly past the edge of the roof.

Valleys often collect snow and ice and can become trouble spots. Heating a foot or two on either side of a valley can ensure proper drainage and prevent buildup. This is especially critical in areas that don’t receive much direct sunlight.

Gutters, Downspouts and Drains
It doesn’t do any good to heat your roof only to have the runoff refreeze in the gutters and downspouts. We recommend running GutterMelt in gutters and downspouts to facilitate drainage. The same is true of roof drains, scuppers, and other drainage features.

Other Trouble Spots
Each roof comes with its own unique challenges. Many layouts and features can lead to ice damming and buildup down the road. Place to consider heating include crickets, areas around dormers and windows,or anywhere a flat roof meets a vertical wall.

Switches, Sensors, and Timers- Activation Options for Snow Melting and Roof Deicing Systems

When installing Snow Melting or Roof Deicing systems, there are a number of options for activation available. Do you need an automated sensor or will a manual timer work? Do you want the system activated when it snows or just when it is cold? Should you use a pavement mounted or an aerial sensor? With all the options available, let’s take a look at which options Warmquest recommends for various solutions.

Manual Timers
Timers and other manual switches are recommended with most of our systems. These options are great for pairing with an automated sensor to provide the option to manually activate the system if needed.

A manual switch may be sufficient on its own for activating a system in a less critical area. If you would be alright with waking up in the morning to a snow covered driveway or arriving at the office and finding snow built up from an unexpected storm then a manual timer will likely suffice. It is important to note that accumulated snow acts as an insulator and is harder to melt than falling snow.

Temperature Sensors
Temperature sensors are most commonly used in conjunction with our roof deicing systems. Particularly for commercial and other critical areas, a temperature sensor will operate the system whenever the temperature is below a configurable temperature point. This is useful for roof deicing as ice dams are frequently caused by snow melting and refreezing on the cold roof.

Some sensor models also have a temperature floor which turns the system off when it is below a set point, or too cold for melt to occur. This allows our systems to be more efficient.

Snow Sensors
Combination temperature and moisture sensors are our recommendation for most snow melting applications. These sensors activate a system when the temperature falls below a set point and moisture is detected on the sensor head. This ensures the snow melting system will run during a storm and for a configurable amount of time after.

When selecting a snow sensor, you have several options. The most common distinction is whether the sensor is aerial mounted or embedded in the pavement. Our pavement mounted sensors offer the most flexibility, with the controls for configuring the sensor mounted separately from the sensor head. This allows the controls to be configured from indoors.

Aerial mounted snow sensors typically mount along the roof eave, in a clear area where they will catch falling snow. This means to avoid trees, overhangs, and any other obstacle that could prevent the sensor from activating.

We advise you discuss your project goals and needs with a Warmquest expert to decide on the best activation option for your system. With more options available all the time, including wi-fi and other smart home technologies, Warmquest can provide a solution tailored to your project.

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