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.