Frequently Asked Questions
Here are the most frequently asked questions we’re asked about ice damming on roofs, and how we address these problems with our ice prevention systems:
How can you remove the ice dams on my roof today?
If you already have ice dams, you need to remove them as soon as possible, or at least melt channels to let any water backed up behind them, drain off your roof. A low tech solution to melting ice channels is to put bags (or pantyhose) filled with calcium chloride at intervals along the eaves of your roof. There is a new product, the Arctic Steamer (video explaining this new product) which can safely melt these channels or the entire ice dam. You (or contractors you hire) should never use an ax or pressure washer , as these will damage your roof.
How quickly can you install your ice prevention system on my roof?
While we’d like to help you right away, we have to wait until your roof is clear of snow and ice, for several reasons. Our system gets installed directly on top of the shingles at the edge of your roof, and we run the cables down the downspouts, and/or staple them to your siding. Our installers work from ladders which must be securely positioned on the ground, so we can’t afford to work while there is snow on the ground. We have provided articles on how to safely remove your ice dams now, and will work with you in parallel to install one of our ice prevention systems as soon as the weather permits.
How safe is your roof ice melting system?
All of our systems use patented, self-regulating heat cables that are UL listed and ground fault protected. All systems are GFCI protected; plugs and circuit breakers are manufactured for use near water and outdoor weather. The self-regulating heat cables are designed to turn on and off during a range of temperatures, to save energy. They regulate how much electrical current runs through the cables to melt snow and ice, depending on air temperature. After the heat cables are installed, we test them to make sure they are operating properly.
How much will it cost to operate your solution?
Costs vary based on the linear feet of heating cable needed to operate your system, and the number of hours where temperatures fall within the melting range (36 degrees down to 20 degrees). We can give you a better idea once your system is designed, for operation during a typical season.
Is an Ice Blaster system costly?
Cost is a matter of perspective. If you’ve already paid to make repairs following significant ice damming, you will find the cost of this system very reasonable. Maybe you’ve only had to pay your deductible but you need to consider the value of your time to deal with the problems and the repairs.
While not as inexpensive as standard heat cables, our ice melt system is significantly cheaper than a metal roof or adding a cold roof to your home. This is especially true when you don’t have to install the ice melt system around the entire house, as typically the problem is on one side of your home where sunlight doesn’t melt the snow on your roof.
Do we need to install the Ice Blaster system on the entire house?
Definitely not. Most customers only install the system where problems have occurred in the past, which most often is the shady side of your home and in valleys that get little to no sunlight. Since the system uses self-regulating heat cables, you can add to the system at any time.
I don’t like the look of Zig Zag Cables on my roof. Is your system different?
Instead of heat cables being run in a zig zag or W pattern on your roof, they’re installed inside aluminum panels which more effectively place the heat where it’s needed. Zig Zag cables were never designed to prevent ice damming, and only claim to melt channels in ice dams. These cables are usually only effective with roof snow depths of 6 inches or less. They’re less efficient because they release their heat into the atmosphere while our cables heat the extruded aluminum panels.
Do gutters or gutter protection cause ice damming?
Gutters and gutter protection systems do not cause ice damming. The primary reason why ice dams form is the heat rising from your living space raises the temperature of your upper roof and the melting snow freezes as it rolls down over the roof eaves which do not have heated space underneath them. It often appears that the gutters cause the ice damming because they extend beyond the house and provide more surface for melting snow to refreeze.
Do I need to remove the system from my roof each summer?
No, your Ice Blaster system is designed to be installed permanently. It is a good idea to check the system each fall to make sure it is operational, before winter storms begin. We can provide this service upon your request.
My roofing contractor said more ventilation will cool my attic down. Can I do this instead of installing an Ice Blaster system?
More insulation will reduce the amount of heat leaking into your attic and better ventilation will remove this heat. Adding more insulation and/or ventilation will not prevent ice damming because warmed air will always leak and warm a conventional roof.
If I rake the snow off the roof, won’t this prevent ice damming?
Raking their roof is what many homeowners do. There are several risks associated with this strategy. Shingles can be damaged or worn down, leading to manufacturer’s warranties being voided (check the fine print). Landscaping may be damaged and worse, people can get hurt by falling snow, a fall from a ladder or the roof. Hiring home professionals to rake your roof can be costly as rates are high to reflect the risk associated with the job. Our Ice Blaster system is a safer solution to keeping your home’s roof, free of ice.