Category Archives: Roof Deicing

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.

Roof Drainage Solutions

Drainage is important for any roof, but becomes particularly critical on flat roofs. In cold climates, snow and ice accumulation can quickly snarl drains and downspouts, preventing snow and water from leaving the roof. This can lead to many hazards, from snow load concerns to slippery surfaces in maintenance areas.

Managing snow and ice on commercial roofs is difficult. If drainage is not maintained, not only can snow load issues arise, but even on the best engineered roofs ice damming can become an issue. As ice builds up in and around drains, water is unable to escape the roof and often finds its way inside.

Warmquest frequently works with architects, engineers, facility managers and others to provide roof and drain deicing solutions. Our under roof heating options provide a permanent, long lasting fix to drains freezing and backing up. These unique low voltage systems can be installed beneath membrane, shingle, metal and other roofing materials. 

For a flat roof with drains, the ideal solution would be to install an under roof deicing system in the areas around the drains. This keeps the area clear and free of snow and ice buildup. Then, loop self regulating cable like our GutterMelt product down into the drains. This cable should extend to conditioned space, daylight, or below the freeze line. The GutterMelt will keep water flowing in the drain itself.

Rather than attempting to shovel the roof, let Warmquest help you heat it. With our Invizimelt and ZMesh under roof deicing systems, you can melt around drains, along walls, and any other trouble spots. These systems are installed beneath the roofing material and heat entire sections of roof.

Give us a call today at 877-877-4724 to learn more about our comprehensive deicing solutions.

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