Sergeant Burr and the Snow Brigade

The Battle of Radiant Ridge. The Snow Brigade Takes on the Heated Driveway Fortress

A thick cloud of white specs began falling from the grey sky. “Alright, you snowflakes!” the gruff sergeant bellowed. “Listen up! We’ve got a job to do and we’re gonna do it!” Sergeant Burr studied the troops as they drifted down in the cold breeze.

“Our mission is to harass those two-legged monstrosities down there and bring their travel plans to a halt. Got that? We are to secure the driveway and keep them confined to their house. Make all exit points dangerous and impassible. We will impede all manner of travel, whether it’s by foot or vehicle. Do you understand?”

“Sir, yes sir!” the group yelled in unison.

“Alright then, when you land on that driveway tighten up your ranks and hold your ground. I’ll be taking the high ground by the wintergreen pansies to supervise the operation. I’ll be there with you guys, fighting alongside you.”

Sergeant Burr, snowflake leader.
Sergeant Burr, leader of the Snowflake Battalion.


“Um Sergeant Burr, sir?” one timid private stepped forward.

“What’s on your mind, son?”

“Uh, yes sir, I uh, I heard that some of these places are installing heated driveways that pretty much vaporize entire battalions of snowflakes like us. How do we know they don’t have any weapons of mass melting down there?”

“Because our intelligence reports didn’t say anything about radiant heat!” the sergeant yelled. “Look down there! That driveway and sidewalk look the same as all the others, right? Now, enough with those crazy thoughts.”

“Um, yes sir.”

“Alright! So stop worrying. We’re going to use the element of surprise and bury ‘em before they can yell ‘Grandma busted her hip’. Got that?”

“Yeh-yes sir,” the snowflake sheepishly resigned and slipped back into rank.

“Dude,” a soldier next to him nudged. “Ya just gotta think positive man. Like, picture in your mind that the driveway down there is totally chill, man. It’s just a frigid slab of cement waiting for us ice-cool dudes to drift on down and cover up. Positive thinking man; just use the power of positive thinking. Believe it will be ice cold and it will be ice cold.”

“Well okay, sure,” the wary private said with a raised eyebrow, while distancing himself from the soldier.

“The rest of you snowflakes,” Sergeant Burr continued, “stop worrying about the radiant heat bogeyman and focus on your assignments. The first wave is to cover the surface. Link up and provide a thin sheet of ice so the next waves can pile on top to pack you down and hide you. You’ll be the tip of the spear; the secret slick surface that will bring down any of those two-legged mammals who dare to step outside.”

“What about the four-legged ones?” a soldier asked.

“We don’t care about them. They don’t have as far to go when they drop. It’s those bipedal ones that are a lot more fun to watch when they go down,” the sergeant said with a devilish grin. “Now let’s go down there and have some fun.”

The group descended closer and closer to the ground. The brown lawns and leafless trees were beginning to be overcome by the white army. In fact, the entire landscape was sinking slowly under a blanket of snow, but the driveway remained defiant. It stood alone in the drowning neighborhood.

“Man, I don’t like the looks of this,” the timid private said to a fellow paratrooper.

“Yeah,” came the reply. “That doesn’t look right.”

“No talking in the ranks!” the sergeant howled. He raised his hand slowly and then threw it down to his side. “First wave, hit the ground! Go, go, go!”

The blanket of snowflakes fell onto the concrete, but shrieks and screams filled the air. The snowflakes were gone. They disappeared. One after another the snowflakes hit the pavement before letting out a yelp and trickling away. The snow was disarmed, turning into little droplets that drained down the driveway and into the gutter.

The young private was now nothing more than a small drop of water. He recognized the droplet next to him and gave him a shove. “Positive thinking, aye? Just think it will be ice cold and it will be ice cold, aye? Rrright. Positive thinking, my lily white icicle!”

“Yeah man. Like, total bummer,” came the sheepish reply.

But some of the first snowflakes to hit the driveway didn’t even make it to the water stage. Like the private said, the snowflakes were vaporized, where they drifted slowly back up to the sky.

“C’mon!” the stubborn sergeant hollered. “Waves two and three. Hit ‘em hard!”

But with each company of snowflakes the results were the same. The icy soldiers were nullified the second they hit the ground.

“Sarge!” a platoon leader yelled. “We can’t break through. It’s too hot down there. The driveway is fortified with radiant heat! We don’t stand a chance.”

The stubborn Sergeant only grew more desperate. “We . . . we gotta. Um,” he stammered and thought for a moment. Maybe it’s not a Warmzone heated driveway. Maybe we can overwhelm it.

“Everybody! he yelled. “We need a full frontal assault. We’ll overwhelm the driveway with sheer numbers!”

“But Sarge!”

“That’s an order,” the sergeant screamed. “Everyone to the driveway! It’s our only chance.” He called for reinforcements.

The sky grew white and thick sheets of snow descended. Snowflake after snowflake hit the ground, but no one could establish a foothold. It was impossible. Even when reinforcements that doubled the size of the assault force arrived, they could make no headway. Snow piled up on the ground next to the driveway, but the troops on the lawn could only watch in horror as their comrades fell to their doom.

Heated driveway and sidewalk
 The scene of the great snowflake massacre at Radiant Ridge; also referred to as Burr’s Last Stand.

“It’s a massacre,” one resigned.

Still the sergeant continued to bark his attack orders.

“That dude’s a lunatic,” a snowflake on the edge of the driveway remarked as he watched the sergeant scream his orders.

“He’s a cold-hearted dude,” a soldier observed.

“Yeah, got ice in his veins,” came a reply. 

“He’s got ice in his brain!” another injected, shaking his head. “There’s nothing you can do against a heated driveway. It’s hopeless!”

“For sure,” the soldiers agreed. “I reckon Sarge’s brain is melting. Poor guy has gone bananas.”

“Yeah, old ‘blood and guts’ is just ‘old drooling sludge,’.”

“Well, I’m just glad we landed here on the grass. Those heated driveways are murder on snow.”

The battle raged for over two hours, but when the final troops descended from the sky, the driveway and front sidewalk were completely dry. There was no trace of a battle. The army of snow successfully buried the surrounding yards, roads and roofs, but the pavement remained clear.

Sergeant Burr hugged his knees and rocked back and forth. His eyes stared blankly ahead as he repeated, “It’s a heated driveway. How could I know? It’s a heated driveway . . . ”

His soldiers tried to console him, but it was hopeless.

“C’mon Sarge,” the medics lifted him onto a stretcher. “It’s all over now.”

Finding the Ideal Roof De-icing System

Roof de-icing systems are a great investment that can save homes from the damage that melting ice and snow can cause in the cold winter months. If you’ve been considering a de-icing system for your home or business, fall can be the perfect time to get one installed.

Roof de-icing systems can be used to heat your whole roof, but it is more common to heat specific areas. The most common application is heating roof edges, but heating problem areas, roof valleys, or even your gutters and downspouts are also popular options. Heating these areas can prevent ice dams that can be created by warm temperatures in the attic that can cause snow or ice to melt and trickle down the roof. When the cool water hits the freezing eaves, it refreezes, eventually creating a ridge of ice along the roof eave. This causes subsequent runoff to pool behind the ice ridge, and that’s when problems can occur. The water seems into every tiny crevice and when it refreezes, it expands. As this process repeats, the expanding ice can threaten the integrity of the roof. Damage from ice dams can be hazardous and costly to repair, and can also lead to interior water damage inside the home. Radiant roof de-icing systems are proven to prevent ice dams from forming to allow runoff to reach the gutters, helping to prolong the life of your roof.

Roof with ice damage to gutter
Gutter damage caused by heavy ice buildup.

No matter which area of your roof you are looking to heat, don’t forget that a system is only as good as the installation and components that are included. Each Warmzone roof de-icing system consists of the industry’s most advanced and proven components. Warmzone offers multiple options for heating elements that allow you to customize your system to fit the needs of your home or business.

One of the most popular and reliable heating elements available is Warmzone’s self-regulating heat trace cable. RoofHeat self-regulating heat trace cable is an easy to use roof de-icing option that is affordable and great for a wide variety of applications. Self-regulating heat cable has an irradiated conductive core that increases the heat output as temperatures outside drop, and decreases output as temperatures rise. Cable is available in different lengths and can be installed to accommodate just about any configuration, including custom or oddly shaped areas. The cable is UL recognized, flexible, and has an extremely rugged outer jacket of UV stabilized thermoplastic elastomer, making it perfect for harsh outdoor conditions. Self-regulating heat cable from Warmzone also comes with a 10-year manufacturer warranty.

Self-regulating heat cable is the first choice for installing in gutters and downspouts, and can even be used for pipe trace applications to prevent freezing. Installing the heat cable is simple. It is installed in the gutter and into the downspouts, and ended below the frost line. When installing cable on the roof itself, it is attached to the roof with roof clips in a zigzag formation. Installing heat cable in these areas is extremely efficient at providing channels for runoff to prevent ice and snow damage, and the best choice for most customers. Most customers use self-regulating cable to heat roof edges, but it is also effective for keeping roof valleys clear of snow and ice buildup. Self-regulating heat trace cable has been installed in most of the coldest areas of the country, and still remains one of the most efficient and discreet options for gutter trace applications and roof heating today.

Self-regulating heat cable
Self-regulating heat trace cable for roof de-icing applications.

Wamrzone also offers pre-terminated 120V, 6-watt self-regulating heat cable. This option is affordable and convenient, as it comes pre-assembled and can be plugged into a standard outlet. This cable is also available with a GFCI power plug, and comes in 50, 75, or 100-foot lengths. Pre-terminated cable allows for easier installation, as it does not require any special skills or tools. It can be used in almost any application, even industrial environments – including hazardous and corrosive environments.

Another option available from Warmzone is constant wattage cable. This type of cable is a good choice for quick, easy, and general roof de-icing projects, where customization may not be necessary. Constant wattage cable has outstanding electrical and thermal properties, with a parallel heating core that will produce uniform thermal output over its entire length, meaning that the power output remains the same across the whole cable. (It is unaffected by ambient temperature, unlike self-regulating cable.) Constant wattage cable uses a single power point making it easy to configure and install heat tracing systems anywhere. Constant wattage cable comes pre-assembled, and can be installed to eliminate problem spots along your roof edges, gutters, or downspouts. The cable can also be used for pipe freeze prevention, as well as for process heating, and velocity flow control for viscous materials in industrial applications.

If cable isn’t the right option for heating your roof, Warmzone’s low-voltage RoofHeat STEP de-icing system may be the ideal choice. This system also features a self-regulating heating element. This system utilizes a thin polymer element that can be nailed through and cut on site. The semi conductive polymer heating element uses individual control boxes to monitor monitor power and output for each section of roofing. The transformers will step from high voltage to low voltage (60 V or less) to assure safe and efficient performance. The low-voltage element can be safely installed under shingles and metal roofs, and is ideal for heating entire eaves and problem areas.

Warmzone’s versatile self-regulating heat cable is an industry leader that is the perfect choice for most home or business owners. A roof heating professional from Warmzone can help you determine which heating element is best for your particular application, whether you need to heat valleys, edges, downspouts, or even your whole roof. Warmzone professionals provide industry leading customer service, including professional system design, free installation training, and tech support. If you still have questions about roof de-icing systems, contact a Warmzone professional today at 888.488.9276. We’ll be happy to answer any questions you may have.