At HotEdge, we understand that the decision process for selecting the best ways to eliminate (short-term) and solve (long-term) destructive ice dams and icicles on your roof structure can be overwhelming and difficult. We know because when we search the internet for options not only are the options shown mis-leading but the list of options is not comprehensive. In general, internet searches reward concepts and companies that have been around the longest and not necessarily the new better “mousetrap”. HotEdge is the new better “mousetrap” on the market. If the patents are any indication, HotEdge roof ice melt systems will remain the “better mousetrap” for some time to come. And although you will find HotEdge on an internet search, it is not yet a concept woven within a traditional list of options/websites that do not keep current on new and proven introductions! In fact, many resource websites, i.e. This Old House, etc. will only prescribe ideas as ice dam solutions if a company advertises with them, hence the only concepts recommended are of those companies that advertise. In addition, when we watch news stories on the topic for how to remedy roof ice issues, the television stations often choose a representative from a large local box store to interview, i.e. Lowes, Home Depot, ACE Hardware, Menards, local roofer who might be a friend of someone within the news organization, etc.
That representative is only motivated to recommend options that are available in their stores! And in reality, the only options you will find in a store are products that the store has determined it can sell easy and make the largest profit. Sadly, a stores decision is not a decision based on what is the best for the consumer. If it were, HotEdge would be on store shelves. This leaves out options that might be the best option in the market for you! For example, it is easy to find zig zag heat trace in a store. This might be the worse option, however, the companies that manufacture heat trace cable can package it in a way and advertise it in a way that excites store managers that they will be able to sell a lot of it and it will be a profitable product on their shelf.
So, as stated, we understand the confusion that exists trying to sift through all the information on the market since it is often not comprehensive and objective. In our attempt to objectively help you through this process, below are opinions (primarily based on feedback we receive) and hard facts to help you sort through all the information on the market.
If you currently have a roof ice problem (leak(s), damage to property, or risks to people),your best “band-aid” or short-term approach is:
PlugNPlay Heat Trace Cable:
Your best short-term method to resolve the issue is to purchase an 8W-13W plug-in heat cable and place it over the existing ice. This will slowly melt through the ice build-up and eventually reach your roof deck and ice dams will be eliminated. The trick to this approach is to not scrape off the snow pack off the ice. Rather, leave the snow pack on top of the ice and lay/toss the heat trace on top of the snow pack and the snow pack will hold the heat trace in place and melt quickly down to your roof deck and eliminate ice dams. This product is typically NOT available in stores. Click here to purchase.
Putting People On Your Roof With Shovels & Piks:
What you do not want to do is hire a service to manually remove ice from your roof with shovels, piks, etc. See video footage. The economics of this option are dismal. The cost for each man on your roof for the first hour is approximately $100. The second hour for each man is $85.00. Total cost to remove clear a roof of snowpack/ice is .81 cents per square foot. The sad news is that after you pay your bill, you will get the same bill every time your roof needs to be cleared! It is a band-aid. Nothing was solved. The expense will keep repeating itself throughout the winter season. This method is heavily promoted since it is very profitable and typically requires a repair service once it is realized the manual method damaged the roof deck. See photos of roof damage.
Insulating Your Attic:
Insulating your attic will have a limited impact. Roof ice issues are also the result of ambient temperature changes, hence, freeze and thaw cycles will occur whether you insulated your attic or not. Lastly, it is not possible to create a cold roof by insulating an attic. The only way to truly have a “cold roof” is to have the cold roof built into the structure. If you are building a home, strongly consider asking your contractor if they can build a cold roof! Especially, if you the property is in a high snow load region. See photo of structure with a cold roof. Notice that there is no heat loss, hence, no ice build-up on the roof deck. Please know, even this cold roof will be susceptible to ice build-up once the insulating snow pack melts and the roof deck is more exposed to freeze and thaw cycles.
Buy A Roof Rake:
Raking off roof ice and snowpack is also a risky activity and will remove snowpack which works as an insulator for snow melt water.
Use High Pressure Steam Machines:
High pressure steam machines will transfer ice problems to your walkway, walls, etc. This is very messy option. And like manual methods, this method will damage your roof deck.
Throw Calcium Chloride Sock On Your Roof:
Sodium chloride socks are promoted heavily. Why not, they are cheap and you simply throw them up onto your roof. Easy! They are difficult to place properly. The sodium chloride will discolor your roofing and walkways. Kill landscaping. Click here to view news story with information (Calcium Chloride) recommended to a homeowner which is not the best option. Please remember, if a company is pushing you to use a single option, i.e. a high pressure steamer on your roof it is because they bought a steamer and need to pay for it! If a company pushes zig zag heat trace to you, it is because that is their only bag of tricks. If a company pushes putting people on your roof with shovels and piks, it is what they do (typically roofing companies that can keep their business profitable during winter months when they would typically not have business!). If anyone is pushing an option to you the best question from you would be to ask them if they have researched HotEdge as an option to show you. HotEdge has been on the market four years now and a way new best “mousetraps” get into the industry is when service companies (like the one you might be dealing with) do ongoing research so that they are in a position to offer you the homeowner or business owner the best option! We are approached everyday by “researchers” finding our “better mousetrap”. In time, HotEdge will become traditional and mainstream in the industry, however, it takes time.
If you want to solve your roof ice problem permanently:
ALUMINUM METAL TRACKS/HEATED PANELS:
This concept has been on the market 18+ years. This concept works. It keeps a roof edge free of ice. And it heats a roof edge on a continuous basis. Heating a roof edge on a continuous basis is critical towards preventing ice dams and icicles. And although this concept works it has flaws if you’re concerned with energy costs to operate it and the maintenance expense to replace heat trace cables. It is over engineered. Click here to see photos and more detailed description to understand why this concept is flawed. It is not competitively priced. Almost cost prohibitive. It relies on indirect heat transfer, hence, 2-3 heat trace cable runs to prevent ice build-up on a roof edge. To better understand the limitations of direct heat transfer realized with this concept, click here. This metal track is not your roof deck. So heat transfer then must first heat a metal track and then reach a metal cover plate. In fact, this metal cover plate prevents this system from ever being UL Listed. In fact, it might not even be compliant with Article 126.1 B of the National Electric Code! You should check with your local electrician whom best knows Articles within the NEC for your area. What is NEC Article 126.1 B. I guess you could ask “why risk your home or business to a concept that cannot pass the rigors of a UL Certification process. Some companies you might be talking with lead you to believe they are a UL Listed “system”. This is simply not true. Why is it important to be UL Listed? Since 2-3 heat trace cable runs are required for this concept to perform, your monthly costs to operate this system will be surprisingly high. See Electrical Usage Comparison Chart. Your goal is to heat your roof deck first! After all, not until you heat your roof deck will you prevent snow melt water from re- freezing on your roof deck. Maybe the biggest flaw in this concept is the fact you will need to modify your existing roof structure to install this concept. Modify might be a generous term since you literally will need to remove 2-4 feet from the edge of your existing roof deck to properly install an aluminum metal track! There most likely are warranty issues tied to this level of modification. This will increase the installation costs by a large margin. As stated, this concept uses cover plates. Since the cover plate hides/covers the heat trace cable, it is another investment to replace obsolete heat trace. Click here to see photos removing aluminum metal tracks at the customer’ request to install HotEdge in its place. Please understand, heat trace does not last forever. In fact, it comes with a 10-year warranty so the investment required to replace expired heat trace should be factored into your overall investment decision. See photos. See photo of heat trace cable lying on top of aluminum metal track! If either was the answer for the customer, the customer would never have had a need to call HotEdge and the aluminum metal track and heat trace cable removed and have HotEdge installed.
LAYING HEAT TRACE ON YOUR ROOF EDGE IN A ZIG ZAG PATTERN:
This concept has been around almost the longest. It is cheap to install. It can work, however, to make it work requires so much heat cable that it becomes not practical to operate. This concept is promoted aggressively because it is very profitable for heat trace cable manufacturers to sell the volume it requires to zig zag up and down on a roof edge (minimum of 4 feet per foot of roof edge. It is profitable for installers since they often receive more work when you call them to re- install the heat trace after it is left hanging off your roof edge in the springtime. See photos of this. This concept has two big flaws; (1) it will increase your monthly energy bills to a level you are not comfortable, and (2) it is not able to heat your roof edge on a continuous basis. In fact, if you follow manufacturer’s instructions, your roof edge will be left with a minimum of a one foot wide unheated gaps on your roof edge. Icicles will form between these unheated gaps. See photos. You are purchasing 4 feet of heat trace for 1 foot of roof edge ( you zig up two feet and zag down two feet leaving a one foot gap). You get the idea. Some feel they need to zig up 5-6 feet! See photos. The only reason some feel they need to zig up that high from a roof edge is because they were sold on the idea or they are desperate to solve ice problems that existed 5-6 feet up from the edge before they installed. What must be understood is that if you successfully heat a roof edge on a continuous basis, problematic ice dams will not exist 5-6 feet up from the roof edge. So let’s say you are on the fence in terms of whether this concept will work for you. After all, you might have seen it working satisfactorily on the South side of a neighbor’s home. Why would you want to pay the electrical bill this concept will deliver to you each month? It is a lot of heat trace cable needed. Click here for Electrical Usage Comparison Chart. Roof clips used to secure zig zag to your roof will void your warranty since they are penetrating. Most do not like all the heat cable on the roof edge. It is a distraction from the beauty of the overall home or business. Zig zag is continually exposed to UV light. This degradation of the heat trace cable reduces its useful life. Click here to see short video on HotEdge versus zig zag heat trace.
HEATED SILICON PANELS:
This concept is plagued with flaws. Almost not worth mentioning because it is an unpractical concept. This concept cannot be UL Listed. It would be impossible for this concept to receive a UL Listing. In fact, it might not even be compliant with Article 126.1 B of the National Electric Code! What is NEC Article 126.1 B. I guess you could ask “why risk your home or business to a concept that is not compliant. If this concept was a good choice, HotEdge would not exist today since the owner had heated silicon mats installed on his own home only to have them not function one year later. Since they are buried beneath your roof deck, it is cost prohibitive to repair/replace them. He is lucky his home did not burn down. After all, it is typically dangerous/risky to bury anything electrical within your roof deck! They are good looking as you cannot see them. They are not close to being energy efficient. At 36W per square foot you will fall back in your chair when your electrical bill arrives each month. Click here for Electrical Usage Comparison Chart. It is interesting since the company that manufacturers these mats shows the owner of HotEdge home on their website as if it was a successful project!
Since you are serious about the research process and by now have a lot of facts about most options available to prevent icicle and ice dam problems on your roof, you most likely are close to the determination that HotEdge systems are the most practical, energy efficient, and effective available. The most important performance measure you want to understand when evaluating roof ice melt system choices for your roof is their ability to effectively heat a roof edge on a continuous basis. Two systems do this; (1) HotEdge (requires a single heat trace cable), and (2) aluminum metal tracks (require two or three heat trace cables). The reason HotEdge requires less heat trace cable is its engineered raceway is specially designed for direct heat transfer. Aluminum metal tracks rely on an indirect heat transfer, hence, more heat trace cable is needed. Less heat trace cable means lower energy/operating costs. Watch our ice melt systems video to learn more about our products!
All HotEdge one-piece roof edge ice melt systems are engineered with a patent pending three sided angulated raceway securely holds and compresses a single commercial grade self regulating heat trace cable in place for direct heat transfer to all roof edges. And since no modifications are required to existing roof structure, overall project costs remain a fraction of all other market alternatives. The open raceway design conforms to the NEC (National Electrical Code) Article 426 and provides easy access for insertion, inspection and replacement. Click here for Electrical Usage Comparison Chart. With all our systems, the heat trace cable is always partially exposed making all our systems compliant with Article 126 of the National Electric Code. See what is stated in NEC Article 126.1 B and why this is important towards protecting your home or business. As a result, HotEdge is the only UL Listed roof edge ice melt system on the market. Click here to view UL Certificate issued to HotEdge. NO modification is required to your existing roof structure! See photos for Asphalt Composite Shingle Roof. See photos for Corrugated Metal Roof. See photos for Wood Shake/Cedar Shingle Roof. See photos for Standing Seam Metal roof. See photos for Concrete Tile Roof. See photos for Synthetic Slate Shingle Roof. See photos for Steel Shingle Roof. See photos for EPDM Rubber Roof.