Category Archives: Roof Deicing

Damn those Ice Dams!

by Steve Bench

Leaks in the attic? Stains on the ceilings? Damaged roof shingles after a long winter? You may be suffering from ice dams. This article is an explanation of ice dams and possible solutions to prevent them from occurring in the future.

Ice Dams

An ice dam occurs when the temperature at the base of the roof is below freezing, but higher portions of the roof are above freezing. We all know that heat rises, and that makes the apex of a roof the warmest part. Snow on the warmer portion of the roof will melt, flow down and freeze when it reaches the base of the roof, thus starting an ice dam. As more snow melts at the top of the roof, more ice forms at the base of the roof, and the dam increases in size. Eventually, the water stopped by the ice dam will back up and remain stagnant on the roof, or it will gradually seep into the building’s structure. Varying roof temperatures are primarily caused by heat loss from within a structure. Inadequate insulation, leaky ducts and poor ventilation are all contributing factors to this heat loss.

Solutions to Prevent the Formation of Ice Dams

Uniform roof temperature is the key to preventing the formation of ice dams. However, there are a variety of methods to ensure this unvarying temperature. The following is a list of options on how to prevent the formation of ice dams or minimize damage:

1. Install roof de-icing and snow melting system: A system is installed under roofing materials to provide uniform heat across the roof.

Advantages: fast and effective, maintenance free, roof retains aesthetic beauty

Disadvantages: costly

Note: An affordable, high-quality system may be purchased from Heatizon Systems.

2. Remove the snow from the roof and gutters: A person manually scrapes the snow off the roof before it forms an ice dam.

Advantages: inexpensive, immediate results in emergencies

Disadvantages: temporary fix, dangerous, may damage roof shingles, laborious

3. Increase insulation: More interior insulation prevents heat loss from the interior of a structure from reaching the roof.

Advantages: inexpensive, helpful in preventing ice dam formation

Disadvantages: not 100% effective, laborious

4. Seal leaks: Seal interior leaks to prevent air flow from inside a structure to the roof.

Advantages: inexpensive, helpful in preventing ice dam formation

Disadvantages: not 100% effective, laborious

5. Ventilate attic: A properly ventilated attic helps prevent moisture from building up on the inside surface of the roof.

Advantages: helps keep roof dry, helpful in preventing ice dam formation

Disadvantages: time consuming, laborious, not 100% effective

6. Install rubber-type sheets under roof shingles: These sheets protect against water that may leak through roof shingles.

Advantages: more leak protection, good alternative if better solution not possible

Disadvantages: expensive, does not prevent formation of ice dams

Ice Dams, Snow Loads, Icicles

by Steve Bench

Heatizon Systems manufacturers Low Voltage Electric products that are used for eliminating the problems caused by ice dams, snow loads, and icicles on the roofs of residential, commercial and industrial buildings. Our company’s products are unique because they are designed to be installed under virtually every type of roof covering material rather than on top of the shingles, metal roofing or membrane material.

Heatizon Systems products, and their approved applications, proudly carry the ETL Mark for the United States and Canada verifying that they have been tested to and successfully passed the stringent tests established by both UL and CSA. It is important to note that Heatizon Systems Roof Snow and Ice Melt products are the only products available today that are listed for under-roof covering applications.

All of Heatizon Systems products are proudly made in the United States of America and carry a “Made in the USA” label. In order for Heatizon to provide its customers with the highest quality products possible it closely monitors and controls the materials and manufacturing processes used.

Tuff Cable and ZMesh heating elements come with a 25 Year Warranty against material defects and like all of Heatizon Systems products they carry industry leading and precedent setting warranties.

Heatizon Systems makes products that are used for each of the following applications: $Radiant Snow Melting off of driveways, walkways, handicap ramps, parking lots, etc. in new or existing asphalt, concrete, or pavers. $Radiant Floor Warming under all floor coverings including hardwood, tile, and carpet. $Radiant In-Floor Space Heating for all residential and commercial projects. $Radiant Roof Snow and Ice Melt designed to eliminate ice dams and icicles and manage snow loads under all types of roofing materials including metal.

Radiant Roof Snow Melt and Deicing

by Steven Bench

Damage caused to buildings, people and property by snow and ice build-up and removal, ice dams, and icicles amounts to millions of dollars each year. The effectiveness of the methods historically used to manage snow and ice related problems has been spotty at best. The traditional methods used to prevent these large dollar problems fall into three categories: “Icicle Management”, “Water Channeling”, and “Elimination”. Each of these three categories traditionally includes one or more of the following approaches:

1. Icicle Management – This category encompasses those efforts designed to eliminate or otherwise manage the icicles along the eave line and do not attempt to address the causes nor problems resulting from ice dams. Traditional methods used to manage icicles along the drip-edge of the eave include: nothing or the “ignore them and they will eventually go away, hopefully before something or someone is damaged”, approach, labor intensive and dangerous manual removal, and expensive and often times cosmetically unattractive high voltage cables or hot liquid tubing sandwiched between two layers of metal.

2. Water Channeling – Included in channeling are high voltage cables that are attached to the top of the roof covering material. Installed in a fashion that looks like the letters “W” or “V” high voltage cables are attached to the shingles or other roof covering material with a variety of proprietary clips. Once attached to the shingles and energized these high voltage products are designed to provide a channel for water, created by melting snow and ice, to travel off of the roof.

3. Elimination – This approach is designed to eliminate snow and ice from both the roof in a manner that reduces or entirely eliminates icicles from the eave edge and eliminates the potential damage caused by ice dams. Historical experiments designed to eliminate snow and ice from the roof included partially effective and prohibitively expensive experiments such as heating the attic space and attaching hot liquid filled tubing to the underside of the sub-roof. Unfortunately these experiments most often result in exorbitant energy costs and many times contributed to and/or intensified the problem originally targeted for solution.

Heatizon Systems’ patent pending radiant roof snow melt and deicing products are the only products available today that are installed on top of the sub-roof and below the roof covering material and designed to eliminate snow and ice from the roof and manage the icicles along the eave edge. Period!

In addition Heatizon Systems radiant roof snow melt and de-icing products are:

* Listed to UL Standards by Intertek, a nationally recognized testing laboratory approved by the Environmental Protection Agency, and have earned the right to carry the ETL mark.

* Backed by an industry leading 25 year warranty on both ZMesh and Tuff Cable heating elements.

* 100% efficient. * Proudly made in the United States of America.

ZMesh

by Cy Sherwood

ZMesh is a 9 or 12 inch wide bronze mesh heating element used for in-floor radiant space heating, radiant floor warming, and roof deicing. Zmesh can be installed under non-metallic shingles and single ply membrane and under most floor coverings including carpet, hardwood, laminates, tile, slate, marble, and linoleum/vinyl. ZMesh’s durability is also perfect for your remodeling/retrofit applications.

ZMesh 12” is and excellent product for heating the entire home or for simply heating your floors. ZMesh 12” – wide, bronze mesh is similar to screen door material and comes in 50 to 350 foot rolls (in 50 ft. increments). ZMesh is a premier product because of its extremely low profile and ability to heat evenly. No other heating products can match its characteristic. Because ZMesh is so thin, it will not affect floor buildup, weight loads or flooring choices. ZMesh can be secured to wood sub floors with staples or nails and to concrete with glue or tape. ZMesh can even be installed underneath the cement board when used to heat tile. No additional mortar or thin set is needed to cover the heating system because it is sandwiched in between the sub floor and cement board. Because Heatizon Systems’s ZMesh products operate under 32 volts, it is possible to safely put your hand directly on the ZMesh during operation.

ZMesh 9” is used for melting ice and snow under non-conductive shingles or surface asphalt, shake or slate shingle roofs and is ideal for new construction or remodeling. It is only 1/16” thick. Our ZMesh 9” wide element is used for radiant roof deicing and can be nailed or stapled through, making its installation easier than other systems. Costly and disruptive roof ice buildups are eliminated with the use of this unique and low profile roof heating element. The ZMesh is installed underneath the shingles, so its appearance does not compromise the aesthetics of any structure nor is it exposed to weathering or corrosion. The 9” ZMesh is spaced at 2” and rolled out over the area to be heated. Depending on the roofing project, anywhere from 4 to 12 runs of ZMesh may be needed from the roof’s edge up. ZMesh can be installed on the entire roof, it is desired to eliminate snow or ice buildup. A great advantage of our roof deicing system is its versatility. You can roll out the ZMesh into any pattern to heat any desired area. ZMesh 9” is the only under roof heating product that is ETL listed.

The ZMesh 9” or 12” is listed to U.L. Standards and the product carries the ETL label. ZMesh has an industry leading 25 year warranty, and is long lasting with its “Warming America’s Cold Spots Since 1979” track record.

Line Voltage vs Tuff Cable

by Steven D. Bench

Anyone interested in snow melting, floor warming, roof de-icing and/or in-floor space heating deserves to understand the differences between the two electric technologies that compete for your business. You might say “I know the difference, one technology is low voltage and the other is a high voltage, other than that distinction, they are all the same”. But to truly appreciate the differences between these two technologies and to select the product which is best for you, I suggest that it is necessary to learn the answers to a few additional questions.

First, is the product listed by a Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratory (“NRTL”), approved by the Environmental Protection Agency, such as ETL or UL? If the answer to this question is “yes”, then the manufacturer has spent a great deal of effort, time and money testing the product to the standards appropriate for its applications. Once a product has earned the right to be listed by a NRTL, quarterly monitoring and evaluation make certain that the product is designed and manufactured in a manner consistent with its listing. If on the other hand the answer is “no the product is not listed” then it is very important that you understand why. Remember, never underestimate the possibility that it may have been tested and failed to qualify, and always understand the risks that non-listed products may pose!

Second, how do the heating elements differ? The low voltage heating element has a real advantage, because it is simplistic yet durable. The fact that the heating element is made of stranded copper wire with two protective insulators makes it very easy to repair, with readily available materials, in the event it is damaged during or after the installation process. In addition, copper wire has proven its durability and longevity

Third, how long is the heating element warranted? Most companies offer 5, 7, or 10 year warranties while a couple offer up to 25 years. Generally, the longer the warranty the better, unless the warranty is prorated. The bottom line is, if you intend to enjoy the benefits of a snow melting, floor warming, in floor space heating, or roof de-icing product for years to come, only consider products with the best warranties.

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