Roof Ice Dam (Sid the Snowflake)

The Adventures of Sid the Snowflake (Trapped Behind an Ice Dam)

Sid tumbled through the sky at the mercy of the wind. One gust sent him hurling back up towards the gray mist that he’d just departed from, then another would suddenly spin him in a different direction. He tried to catch a glimpse of the ground below as he careened through the stormy heavens, but all he could see was a sky full of his fellow snowflakes, all in the same predicament. Not knowing whether he was going to land in the ocean, on solid ground, or on the backside of a cow, Sid was filled with the angst of an uncertain future.

A voice suddenly broke his reflective solitude.

“I’ll see you on the ground!” another snowflake yelled to him, seemingly enjoying his carefree flight.

“Alright,” Sid responded as he glided closer and closer to earth. “Good luck!” he yelled.

Illustration of Sid the snowflake

Sid knew the chance of seeing this new acquaintance again was slim. Snowflakes that begin their decent together often ended up miles apart by the time they reach the ground. Still, Sid took some comfort in the friendly words and embraced a small sense of reassurance offered by the stranger. Sid was just one of millions who were facing the uncertainty of an unknown destination. This was all part of their cycle of life.

The gusty winds subsided during Sid’s descent, and as visibility increased he could make out forms of the approaching ground. Sid’s last journey took him on an exciting adventure in the Pacific Ocean, and he was half expecting the same. During that adventure, he enjoyed seeing a wide variety of exotic marine life, and he even had the experience of rolling across the back of a small humpback whale.

But today would be much, much different. There was land below. Not only was there land, there were people! Sid was headed for a city. He had fallen into a small town once before, and though the experience wasn’t horrible, it was far from being his favorite. Being scooped up in a shovel and tossed aside to be splattered by muddy slush from passing cars was something he really hoped he wouldn’t have to endure again.

As he drifted towards the ground, Sid could see that many of his peers had arrived earlier, blanketing the uneven ground and buildings with a pristine layer of white. He plotted his landing and prepared for his arrival in the front yard of a small house. But a sudden gust tossed him aside and onto the roof of the house. He breathed a sigh of relief, grateful to be on a roof and not in some cow pasture. He was quickly joined by others, and the group settled in, not yet sure of their fate.

After five uneventful days on the roof, Sid started feeling a bit “loosey goosey” as warm air that had escaped from the attic warmed the roof and tickled his rear end. He watched as friends around him collapsed from their frozen state into clear liquid, each letting out a loud “whoo hoo” as they tumbled down the roof valley. They zigzagged their way down the giant water slide before crashing into a growing pool that had formed behind a mountain of snow and ice at the roof’s edge.

Then it was Sid’s turn. As his last frozen foothold gave way, he cascaded towards his friends, clumsily bumping into a few stubborn packs of ice before being released into the small pool. This would be Sid’s new home for a few days. The large ice dam wasn’t going to allow any of them to drip into the gutters or downspout anytime in the near future.

Illustration showing how roof ice dams form

Apparently, the ice dam had been growing long before Sid’s arrival. The shingles were much warmer higher up on the roof, but the surface near the roof’s edge was much colder. When drops of melted snow trickled down into the freezing valley below, they collected and transformed back into their frozen state. Without the warmth escaping from the attic as it did near the top of the roof, the frozen water would remain where it was, completely at the mercy of Mother Nature. Here it would dwell until the temperature dictated otherwise.

The process of melting and refreezing behind the formidable ice dam had repeated several times before Sid had arrived. And now, trapped behind the ice, Sid and his friends would also take part in that process. As night fell on another cold day, Sid and his companions once again changed back into their frozen state. They could do nothing but wait for warmer weather.

With each passing day, the crowd grew larger as runoff from warm areas of the roof increased the pool’s size. Milling about like restless concert goers awaiting the opening act, some of Sid’s cohorts grew impatient.

“Let’s work our way through this place and drip inside,” he heard one say. Soon, a plan was hatched, and an ample collection of supporters began their unconventional trek. In their liquid state, aided by gravity, they wound their way down through a maze of cracks in the roof. If a crack came to an end or became too small, they would wait patiently for the freezing temperature to grant them their super powers. As they transformed into ice, they expanded with tremendous force, enlarging the existing cracks and preparing a way for them to continue their journey when they resumed their watery ways. With each night and freezing day, the group inched its way through the aging roof. Before long, a trail had been blazed, creating a small stream for others to follow. It didn’t take long for one of the home’s walls to absorb a budding contingent of melted snowflakes.

But Sid had no intention of sliding down into the house. The idea of seeping into a home seemed unnatural. Besides, he hated the taste of plaster and drywall, and the last thing he wanted was to become a filament of mildew or mold on a gross, stained wall. He didn’t mind waiting with the others behind the ice dam. Unfortunately, the homeowner hadn’t installed a roof deicing system, which would have prevented Sid’s derelict friends from turning in to a bunch of drips to forge an alternate path into the house. Eventually however, the temperature would warm and melt the ice dam, allowing Sid continue on his way. He’d made this journey once before, resting on a Utah rooftop for over a week before finding his way back to a stream, and eventually back in to the clouds – where he was happiest.

At the end of another day, Sid looked up to the stars that shimmered through the wisps of clouds drifting in the moonlight. “Someday,” he reflected, “I’ll be back up there.” The ice dam couldn’t hold Sid forever, and he knew it. He closed his eyes and promised himself, “Tomorrow, I’ll find a way to start my journey back up to the sky.”

Chicago Snow Storm Breaks Record set in 1936

Protecting Roofs and Pedestrians

Chicago winters continue to set new records, both in terms of low temperatures and snowfall. The last two winters have been particularly harsh, as Chicago residents have experienced record low temperatures and record setting levels of snowfall. In February of 2015 Chicago’s O’Hare airport registered a brutal 8 degrees below zero as 20 miles per hour wind gusts pushed wind chill temperatures to 30 below, breaking a record set in 1936.

Coupled with record breaking snowfall, snow and ice quickly accumulates on Chicago’s residential and commercial rooftops, posing potential hazards to pedestrians below. Building owners in the “Windy City” are legally responsible not only for keeping their sidewalks clear of snow, but preventing snow and ice from falling from rooftops.

Panorama of Chicago during winter
The beautiful city of Chicago during winter time.

While some business rely on roof snow and ice dam removal services in the Chicago area, many homeowners and businesses are turning to reliable radiant heat. These automated systems remain “on standby” 24/7, so when a storm does hit, the system activates to prevent any snow and ice from accumulating.

While the safety of pedestrians is paramount for businesses in the city, ice dams pose the greatest threat to homeowners. As heat rises from the home, it can escape into the attic and warm the roof, causing water to trickle down to the roof’s edge. But the roof eaves are colder, and the water refreezes. As this process is repeated, water can build up behind the ice where it can seep into tiny cracks of the roof. Each night, as the water refreezes, it expands, paving the way for more water to seep into the cracks and eventually into the home. The resulting water damage within walls and ceilings can be expensive to repair.

Warmzone roof deicing and gutter trace systems offer one of the best roof heating solutions available for preventing hazardous ice dams and heavy icicles from forming on roofs. The roof heating systems are easy to customize and install. Once installed, the roof deicing and gutter trace systems operate only when conditions warrant, keeping heavy ice from damaging roof gutters and preventing ice dams from forming along roof edges.

In addition to Warmzone’s large variety of industry leading roof deicing systems, Warmzone radiant heat experts work closely with customers to determine the best and most affordable option for the roof.

The most popular roof heating system features an advanced polymer heating element (RoofHeat STEP) that can be installed directly under roof shingles. This low-voltage system has proven to be a favorite roof heating solution among professional installers and homeowners throughout the Chicago area. Heat trace cable can also be installed to heat gutters and downspouts, or the systems can be combined to produce optimum results.

Warmzone professionals are experts when it comes to roof heating, and its customer service is second to none. In addition to providing complete system designs (AutoCAD), installers have access to free installation training as well as personal installation support. If installers encounter any issues or have any questions during the process, he/she can speak with one of the dedicated installation support staff to resolve the issue.

Many home and business owners in Chicago are already enjoying the benefits of a Warmzone roof deicing system. Call a Warmzone consultant to learn more about Warmzone’s roof heating options – with no obligation or sales pressure. Or visit Warmzone online. As an industry leader, Warmzone offers one of the most informative radiant heating websites available. Visit warmzone.com and learn more about radiant heating systems and why some systems (and services) are better than others when it comes to heating specific projects.

Roof Snow and Ice in Boston, Massachusetts

Residents in Boston are proud to live in one of the country’s great historical cities, but given its location, Boston is also home to some of the country’s harshest winter weather. As such, Bostonians are typically well prepared for the annual New England snowstorms. Yet, in recent years, even the most seasoned Boston residents have been caught off guard.

Snow accumulating on streets and roofs in Boston during blizzard
Snow accumulating on streets and roofs in Beacon Hill, Boston during a blizzard in 2016.

The record breaking snowfall during the winter of 2014-2015 pushed Boston’s snow removal services to the limit and frustrated drivers during a series of heavy storms. With snow totals of 108.6 inches, last year’s snowfall proved to be the most since record books started in 1872.

And with heavy snowfall comes additional hazards for residents. Many homeowners felt compelled to manually remove snow from their roofs while building owners in the city worked overtime to ensure that snow and ice buildup on their roofs didn’t break free and threaten pedestrians below. Although efforts were made to enhance the safety of Boston residents, some found themselves to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

In Cambridge, five individuals walking on a path between the Simoni Ice Skating Arena and sports playing fields were suddenly overwhelmed by snow that fell from the roof of the ice rink. One man was buried, but was eventually dug out from the snow without serious injury. This incident brings to light the unseen hazards of snowfall in large cities.

State law mandates that property owners not only clear their sidewalks for pedestrians, but also take reasonable steps to prevent snow and ice from falling onto pedestrians from roofs and other elevated structures. The ideal solution has proven to be the installation of an automated radiant roof deicing system.

Roof heating systems are also beneficial for Boston homeowners. Easy to customize and install, roof deicing and gutter trace systems can keep heavy ice from damaging roof gutters and prevent ice dams from forming along roof edges.

The repair costs from ice dams can be significant. As heat rises and warms the roof, water runs down to the roof’s edge. But the roof is colder at the overhang, and the water refreezes. As this process is repeated, ice and water can build up behind the dam where it can seep into tiny cracks of the roof. Each night, as the water refreezes, it expands, paving the way for more water to seep into the cracks and eventually into the home. The resulting water damage within walls and ceilings can be expensive to repair.

Warmzone roof deicing and gutter trace systems offer one of the best roof heating solutions available for preventing hazardous ice dams and heavy icicles from forming on roofs. In addition to Warmzone’s large variety of industry leading roof deicing systems, Warmzone radiant heat experts work closely with customers to determine the best and most affordable option for the roof.

The most popular roof heating system features an advanced polymer heating element (RoofHeat STEP) that can be installed directly under roof shingles. This low-voltage system has proven to be a favorite roof heating solution among professional installers and homeowners throughout New England. Heat trace cable can also be installed to heat gutters and downspouts, or the systems can be combined to produce optimum results.

Warmzone professionals are experts when it comes to roof heating, and its customer service is second to none. In addition to providing complete system designs (AutoCAD), installers have access to free installation training as well as personal installation support. If installers encounter any issues or have any questions during the process, he/she can speak with one of the dedicated installation support staff to resolve the issue.

Many home and business owners in Boston are already enjoying the benefits of a Warmzone roof deicing system. Call a Warmzone consultant to learn more – with no obligation or sales pressure – at 888.488.9276. As an industry leader, Warmzone offers one of the most informative radiant heating websites available. Visit warmzone.com and learn more about radiant heating systems and why some systems (and services) are better than others when it comes to heating specific projects.

The Future of Roof Deicing

Clear Roof Valleys and Edges faster with a RoofHeat STEP Roof Deicing System

After record snowfalls this year, a spring assessment of your roof may lead you to consider a radiant roof heating solution, particularly for your roof valleys and edges. Heating these trouble spots is a great way to prevent damage as a result of ice dams and seepage. With a razor thin element, superior heating capability and inherent flexibility, a low-voltage RoofHeat STEP roof deicing system is the ideal option for heating roof valleys and edges.

Warmzone roof deicing systems can eliminate costly ice dams, the number one source of roof damage. Because the eaves and roof edges do not have any heat warming the roof from below, they’re much colder and prone to ice buildup from snow melting higher on the roof. As snow up higher on the roof melts, the water freezes when it reaches the colder eaves, creating an ice dam that forces water to back up behind it. With nowhere to go, the water seeps through roof decking and refreezes again at night, expanding small cracks where the water eventually works its way down onto ceilings and walls, resulting in costly water damage and mold.

An Industry Leading Solution

The RoofHeat STEP roof deicing system is fast becoming the roof heating system of choice among professional roofers. Unlike other radiant heating options, the heating element used for this system is not a cable, but rather a thin polymer that can be nailed, stapled and cut on site, so it’s easy to work with and install. The self-regulating semi-conductive polymer heating element is Mylar coated to resist damage from alkaline or salt, and can be mounted under the shingles for discreet heating of roof valleys and edges.

Low-voltage roof deicing system being installed

Installing a roof deicing solution now can preserve and protect a new roof installation from snow and ice buildup for years to come. Besides saving you big bucks in the “improve, repair and replace” department, a RoofHeat STEP roof deicing system can save you the time and effort of having to manually remove snow and ice.

These fully automated systems feature an activation device/snow sensor that detects precipitation and temperature. When conditions warrant, the sensor signals the controller when then sends power to the heating element to heat your roof.

A RoofHeat STEP roof deicing system can keep roof valleys and edges clear and dry before, during and after a major snow event. The system also consists of a transformer that steps down high voltage to low voltage while controlling a specific section of the roof deicing system. During system operation, the transformers monitor power and output to the heating element to ensure safe, accurate and efficient performance.

To find out more about this industry-leading roof deicing system, call 888.488.9276 and speak to a Warmzone professional today.

Premier RoofHeat Gutter Melt Systems

Warmzone Self-regulating Heat Cable is the Ideal Solution for Heating Gutters and Downspouts
Finally spring has arrived, along with the drip, drip, drip of melting snow from the roof tops onto the pavement below. As meteorologists predict several more years of extreme winter weather, now may be the time to add a RoofHeat radiant gutter trace system to your list of home improvement projects this spring.

Heavy snow and ice can damage roof gutters and downspouts, and ice dams often result in costly roof and water damage. Keeping gutters and downspouts clear of ice helps to facilitate runoff which dramatically reduces the risks to your home.

Self-regulating heat cable construction

When gutters and downspouts are blocked, and there is nowhere for the precipitation above to go, melted snow can pool up on your roof or run over the ice and drips down onto the ground. As this ice builds up along your roof edges during winter months, it can melt and refreeze several times, leading to roof damage and water seepage inside your home. Now for some good news—a Warmzone gutter melt system is a truly efficient, affordable home improvement project that can keep your gutters and downspouts free and clear from ice and snow buildup every winter.

The backbone of the system is Warmzone’s durable self-regulating roof deicing cable, one of the most recommended roof heating solutions available for roofs, gutters and drain pipes. (See what separates Warmzone’s self-regulating heat cable from the competition. Self-regulating RoofHeat cable is constructed to be safe, durable and extremely efficient. This energy-wise cable has an irradiated conductive core that increases the heat output as the outside temperature falls, and decreases heat output as the temperature rises. With a rugged, durable outer construction, the heat cable can withstand harsh conditions for continuous use during the winter months.

Roof in need of a roof deicing and gutter melt system.RoofHeat deicing cable is part of a fully-automated gutter trace and roof deicing system designed to keep roof gutters and trouble spots clear of snow and ice buildup. A self-regulating heat cable system is controlled by automatic sensors capable of detecting when snow is on the way. Once detected, the sensor signals the control unit, activating the snowmelt system only when necessary to keep gutters and downspouts clear of ice and snow. The system is fully automated so there’s no switches to flip the system on or off, and operates only when you need it.

These systems are customizable and can accommodate virtually any size, type and construction of your roof. And self-regulating roof deicing cable can also be combined with other recommended Warmzone systems such as theRoofHeat STEP deicing system to create an optimal solution for you. For more information on installing a RoofHeat radiant gutter trace and deicing system to protect your roof next winter, call a Warmzone pro at888.488.9276.