All posts by Warmzone Editor

Protecting Your Roof and Gutters

Each spring, it’s a good idea for homeowners to check their roofs and make sure they survived winter’s icy barrage intact.  Look for damaged, loose and missing shingles, loss of granules on asphalt shingles, deterioration of the sleeves and flashing at vent pipes, and corrosion or damage of other roof flashing. (“Flashing” helps direct the flow of water around openings.) Also, take a look after any severe weather event.

Most roofs are designed to take the beating delivered by Mother Nature, but like everything else, roofs have an effective lifespan, so to prevent possible leaks and costly water damage it is recommended to inspect your roof twice a year. (Ideally, homeowners should inspect their roofs in the fall as well as in springtime.)

Clearing snow off of roof

Roofs in cold climate areas are susceptible to gradual deterioration over the years as a result of repeated freezing and thawing of snow in areas where pockets of ice accumulates. Roof damage can be very subtle, but tiny problems can grow into large, costly problems that not only affect the roof, but the inside of the home as well. That’s why careful inspection of the roof is so important.

The origins of roof problems and likely “leak points” are at its flashings (such as the drip edge, valleys, and wall-to-roof flashing). Penetrations such as plumbing vent pipes, chimneys and skylights are also more vulnerable to leaking. This means that a home with an elegant roof line that has multiple intersecting planes, a chimney and maybe a couple of dormer windows is more likely to leak than a simple gable roof on a rectangular-shaped house.

Most roof leaking is the result of an event, such as a strong storm followed by a threshold of deterioration after which the material begins to fail. Failure points can also be a result of manufacturing or installation defects. Also, ice dams are a common culprit when it comes to roof damage and water intrusion.

Snow and ice buildup occurs when runoff reaches the colder roof eaves and refreezes. Over time, the buildup increases, resulting in large rims of ice near the roof’s edge that cause water to pool behind it. The pooled water seeps under the shingles and refreezes at night, which can threaten the roof’s integrity and eventually lead to costly water damage inside the home.

Heated roof edge

Self-regulating heat cable and low-voltage RoofHeat STEP systems are two leading solutions for heating roof edges and preventing ice dams. These automated systems keep roof edges clear of snow and ice, and the heating elements can also be installed in the roof gutters to further facilitate runoff. Ensuring that water and ice are never trapped on your roof offers peace of mind, knowing that ice dams are not threatening your home. View more information and options for heating your roof.

The Importance of Taking Care of Your Roof

Helpful Roof Information

A quality roof is the key protective element of your home. A poor quality roof can wreak havoc with the interior once it starts to leak. Staining, mold, and rot can be the results of water intrusion. So when it comes to installing your home’s roof, keep these factors in mind:

  • Multiple-layer roof – A roof installed over an existing roof will have a shorter life.
  • Quality of roofing material – You get what you pay for. “Economy” roof materials have a shorter life
  • Installation – Sloppy or improper installation shortens roof life
  • Attic ventilation – An unventilated or poorly ventilated attic reduces roof lifespan.
  • Trees near the roof – Tree branches rubbing on a roof or the acidity from the accumulation of leaf debris on a roof can shorten the life of roof shingles.
  • Harsh climate – Severe weather, including hot summers as well as harsh winters. Dramatic temperature swings within a 24-hour period also shorten lifespan because of the rapid expansion and contraction of the roof materials.
Common Causes for Roof Leaking
  1. Poorly installed or missing flashings
  2. Incorrect installation of the roofing material
  3. Temporary repairs with mastic or caulk
  4. Ice and debris in gutters
  5. Improper deck over roof or low slope roof used as a deck
  6. Bolted-thru satellite dishes, solar systems
  7. Damaged plumbing boots
  8. Trees scraping or impacting the roof
  9. Ice dams
  10. Roofing material deterioration

To protect your roof from winter related damage, view our roof heating options page and contact a roof heating expert at 888.488.9276.

Additional Information

What is the Life Expectancy of a Roof?

The life expectancy of a roof varies, depending on the type of roofing material, the weather, and quality of the installation. With this is mind, here are some lifespan averages for the different types of roofs (based on “average” conditions).

  • Three-tab Asphalt Shingles: approximately 15 years
  • Architectural Asphalt Shingles: 24 to 30 years
  • Metal (Galvalume): 30 to 45 years
  • Concrete Tile: 35 to 50 years
  • Built-Up or Modified Bitumen: 10 to 16 years
  • EPDM (rubber): 10 to 16 years

Many factors contribute to the lifespan of a roof. Here are a few conditions that affect roof longevity:

  • Color of Roof – A dark roof absorbs more heat, which shortens the lifespan.
  • Angle of Roof Slope – Higher pitched roofs tend to last longer.
  • Orientation of Roof Surface – A roof slope facing south is exposed to more UV rays than other roof facings, and therefore results in a shorter life.

Pre-Installation Checklist

Radiant Heat Experts Offer Key Advise and Tips on What NOT to do When Installing Radiant Heat

Radiant heat systems work. It’s a proven technology that produces impressive results. But like most technology related products, if a radiant heat system isn’t installed correctly, the results can be equally disappointing. Installing a radiant heat system is not difficult, but it does need to be done properly. You can buy the best snow melting system components on the market, but unless they’re installed correctly, you won’t see the results you’re expecting.

Recently named “Vendor of the Year” by the National Association of Custom Home Builders, Warmzone is a proven and trusted industry-leading provider of radiant heated driveways, heated floors and roof deicing systems. The company achieved its position by not only offering superior products, but by including the industry’s most comprehensive customer support services, including free installation training, technical support, and system design. These unparalleled services distinguish Warmzone from the competition, and have set the gold standard for all radiant heat providers.

“Our products not only work, but they’re among the industry’s best,” stated Bryan Morris, Director of National Sales for Warmzone. “But unless installers follow a few simple guidelines and install these systems correctly, the quality of the materials will make little difference.”

Installing a heated paver driveway.

Some of the most common installation mistakes include:

  1. IMPROPER CABLE SPACING. Too often, installers neglect to follow the cable spacing rules: Keep the cable at a minimum spacing of 2 inches and a maximum of 4 inches (center-to-center). Make sure the cable in adjacent mats is at least 2 inches apart.
  2. IMPROPER CABLE DEPTH. In concrete applications, many times installers allow the heat cable to rest on the dirt prior to the concrete pour. (Invest in Mesh-Ups. These plastic support ‘chairs’ are extremely affordable, and they can make all the difference in the world between a successful and an unsuccessful installation.) Mesh-Ups elevate the re-mesh (and heat cable) so that it is not resting on the ground when the concrete is poured. It’s a simple, affordable solution to prevent poor snow melting system performance, not to mention unhappy customers.
  3. NEGLECTED WARRANTY CARD. Too many installers forget to fill out the warranty card and mail it to the manufacturer. Don’t let this happen.
  4. FORGETTING TO TEST THE CABLE. Too many installers forget to test the cable during all phases of the installation. Start by testing the cable out of the box and then throughout the installation.
  5. COMPROMISED HEAT CABLE. Maintain the cable integrity by never cutting the cable, and take extreme caution when using shovels and rakes during concrete pours.

One way to limit mistakes during an installation is not only to avoid the above errors, but to follow the handy checklist below, put together by Warmzone’s experienced support staff:

PRE-INSTALLATION CHECKLIST

Before buying and installing a radiant heat system, review the checklist below.

  • Verify the correct voltage of your home or business (220/240 or 110/120).
  • Verify the available amperage. Don’t guess or assume. You’ll need to be certain, so we recommend having an electrician come to your location to measure the amperage.
  • Do your homework before hiring an electrician. Let’s face it, not everyone is competent or ethical. Preferably, find one who has been in business for several years. Ask around and talk with those who have personal experience with electricians.
  • Keep in mind that the National Electric Code (NEC) requires that the system has 30mA GFEP (30mA trip protection).
  • Make sure the installer has completed Warmzone’s free installation training course.

After installing your radiant heat system, fill out and mail your warranty card.

Perhaps the most overlooked tip – and one that can eliminate installation mistakes and unhappy customers – is to take advantage of the free training!  Call 801.948.7577 or 888.488.9276 to sign up or learn more.


Part II: Stories from the Support Desk

Learn From Your Mistakes

Installation Support Experts Reveal Some Unfortunate Installer Mistakes

While most mistakes can be remedied, it is – of course – much easier to simply do the job right the first time. Here are some stories of past installation blunders that could have easily been avoided:

Installation #1:  DON’T CUT THE CORD!

Instead of starting the cable installation as close as possible to the electrical source, one installer began running the cable from the terminated end. After laying out the cable, he discovered that he had about 60 extra feet of heat cable – including the splice to the cold lead. He cut the excess cable and then ran the heat cable (from the terminated end) directly into the ETO2 control unit!

Scissors and cable - Never cut the heat cable
Never cut the heat cable! To make turns, cut the white binding tape and arrange the cable accordingly.

Needless to say, this presented a significant fire hazard, not to mention that the entire system was now inoperable. This disaster could have been easily prevented with a few minutes of consulting with one of our support staff, or by completing one of our installation training courses.”

Installation #2:  SPACED OUT

Many installation problems are a result of improper spacing of the heat cable. And while mats come with the cable pre-spaced, the adjacent mats still must be spaced no less than 2 inches apart. The photo below shows how one installer laid out the cable and then applied the concrete pour. Instead of cutting the white binding tape to make turns with the mats, the cable was simply ‘serpentined’ all across the driveway; overlapping and bunching up and so on.

Example of incorrect layout of snow melting heat cable.
Example of incorrectly laid out heat cable for heated driveway. Cable must not touch or overlap. Always follow the installation guidelines regarding the correct layout of the heat cable.
Correct layout of heat cable
Example of heat cable (in mats) laid out correctly for a heated paver driveway.

Again, this could have been avoided by making a simple call to Warmzone, viewing one of our installation videos online, or completing an installation training course. Instead, the concrete had to be dug up and the system replaced. Don’t have time to take the 45-minute installation training course? Think again.”

“Mistakes like these shouldn’t happen,”  Morris emphasized. “Installers can complete a simple installation training course prior to installing the system, and they can always call a member of our support staff if they have any questions during the installation. If they do either of these things, then they’re likely to save themselves a lot of stress.”

Don’t Forget:

Test the heat cable during the installation and record the readings in the fields provided on the warranty card. After installing your radiant heat system, complete and mail your warranty card.

Double check your cable spacing. (Minimum spacing of 2 inches and a maximum spacing of 4 inches.)

Perhaps the tip that can most effectively eliminate installation mistakes and unhappy customers is this: Take advantage of the free training! 

Installation Tips – Installing a Snow Melting System in Asphalt

Installation Tips for Installing Snow Melting Heat Cable in Asphalt (Quick Reference Guide – Article 1 in a Series of 3)

Remember to check the element resistance and the insulation resistance of the heating cable/mat at the recommended intervals:

  1. In the box: Write the values on the warranty card.
  2. After being laid out: Write the values on the warranty card.
  3. After being covered: Write the values on the warranty card.
  4. Record your readings in the installation manual.
  • When laying out the cable, DO NOT allow heating cables to touch, cross, overlap or get bunched up. Minimum allowable spacing is 2 inches.
  • Do NOT place asphalt that is higher in temperature than the cable’s maximum rated temperature on the heating cables.
  • Heating cables should be securely fastened so they do not move or shift during the embedment process.

Applying hot asphalt over heat cable mats

  • Do NOT use a track application machine on the asphalt. Rubber tire applicators are okay as long as the asphalt temperature is below the maximum rated temperature for the heating cables.
  • The operating weight of the asphalt roller should not exceed 1,000 pounds. (The heat cable is designed to handle 8.9kN before the insulation is damaged, which will cause the cable to fail.) NOTE: A walk-behind roller imparts a force of between 5-18 kN.
    • Use a small power roller to compact asphalt over cable on sand, concrete, or ½-inch aggregate. A smaller roller will take more time, but decreases the chance of damaging the heating cable.
    • A roller with 30 kN or less is allowable when heating cable is in concrete and the concrete is then covered is asphalt.
    • When compacting/rolling on a grade, do not stop the roller. Stopping and resuming the roller may stretch and break the heat cable.
  • Do NOT dump large quantities of asphalt on small sections of the heating cables. Doing this may cause damage to the cable because of excessive, focused heat. Ideally, the asphalt should be applied by hand.

Installing a heated asphalt driveway

  • Do NOT cut or alter the heating cable. Mat tape may be cut, but the heating cable must never be cut.
  • Embed all of the heating cable and the splice in the asphalt. Allow asphalt to cool to a temperature of approx 212°F (100°C) before applying directly over the cable and splice.

Installing the cable splice in asphalt.

  • Manually lay the asphalt and spread the material evenly around and over the heating cables.
  • Heating cables are normally covered by 2-inches of asphalt. Leave a buffer of 4 to 6 inches of unheated asphalt around the edge of the heated area. This allows for adjustment of paving surface edges without damaging the heating cable.
  • Handle heating cables carefully – use extreme care with tools such as shovels, rakes and wheel barrels to avoid damaging the cables.
  • Verify cable integrity by checking resistance often during installation.
  • It is important that the snow melting system be wired by a licensed, qualified electrician and in accordance with local laws, codes, regulations, and NEC guidelines.
  • Ground sensors/cups should not be exposed to temperatures above 80°C (176°F).
  • A perimeter of a maximum of 12 inches of asphalt should exist around the embedded cables. This allows for adjustment of the paving surface edge without damaging the heating cable.

* This list is intended as a general quick reference guide. It is NOT a substitution for proper training and following the installation manual. Always read and follow the installation manual. Web-based training is available on request.

For more information about installing heated driveways and snow melting systems, visit Warmzone’s Installation Overviews web page. Warmzone also provides a host of radiant heat installation videos online as well. Call us today for more information at 888.488.9276.

Installation Tips – Installing a Snow Melting System in Concrete

Installation Tips for Installing a Snow Melting System in Concrete (Quick Reference Guide – Article 2 in a Series of 3)

Remember to check the element resistance and the insulation resistance of the heating cable/mat at the recommended intervals:

  1. In the box: Write the values on the warranty card.
  2. After being laid out: Write the values on the warranty card.
  3. After being covered: Write the values on the warranty card.
  4. Record your readings in the installation manual.
  • Ensure that all sharp stones and debris are removed from the area where the heating cable will be installed.
  • Place the remesh in preparation of the concrete pour.
  • Lay the cables/mats according to the plan and fasten them to the remesh or rebar (using plastic zip-lock ties) so that they do not move during the concrete pouring.
  • Do NOT allow heating cables to touch, cross, overlap or get bunched up.

wz-sm-Heating_Cable_Tips-Keeping_Your_Cable_Safe thumbnail

  • Do NOT cut or alter the heating cable. Mat tape may be cut, but the heating cable must never be cut. View the video How to Make Turns with mats.
  • Heating cable/mats should be spaced at no less than 2-inches center-to-center and no more than 4-inches center-to-center. This also applies to adjacent heating mats.
  • Secure the heating cable to the wire mesh or grid using plastic zip ties. Make sure that the cable/mats and the wire mesh are secure so that they will not move or shift when the concrete is being poured.
  • The heating cable will need to be positioned 2-inches from the surface of the concrete. Use wire remesh and Mesh-Ups or concrete dobies/chairs to position the heating cable within 2-inches of the surface. The heating cable/mat should never rest on the ground.

Placing Mesh-Ups under cable and remesh

  • Do not allow heating cable to cross an expansion joint. Control joints are allowable under the following conditions:
    • The joint is tooled or cut NO deeper than 1¼-inches.
    • A 6-inch piece of ¼-inch angle iron is recommended to protect the cable any place where a control joint will pass over it. The heating cable is tightly strapped to the angle iron with plastic zip ties.
    • Mark the forms where the angle irons are located to accurately place the control joints.
    • The cable must be ¾ to 1-inch below the bottom of the joint. (Do NOT tool joints deeper than 1½ inches. Stay above heating cables.)
  • Embed all of the heating cable and the splice. The cold lead on the heat cable and mats is not rated for direct burial in earth and must be run through a conduit. (The first 6-inches of the cold lead and splice must be embedded in the heated surface.) See the illustration showing the installation of the heat cable and power lead.
  • Handle heating cables carefully. Use extreme care with tools such as shovels, rakes and wheel barrels to avoid damaging the cables.
  • Verify cable integrity by checking resistance often during installation.
  • It is important that wiring of the system is completed by a licensed and qualified electrician and in accordance with local laws, codes, regulations, and NEC guidelines.

* These tips are meant for quick reference. It is NOT a substitution for proper training and following the installation manual. Always read and follow the installation manual. Web-based training is available on request.

View Warmzone installation videos.

Installation Tips – Installing a Snow Melting System Under Pavers

Installing Heat Cable under Pavers (Quick Reference Guide – Article 3 in a Series of 3)

Remember to check the element resistance and the insulation resistance of the heating cable/mat at the recommended intervals:

  1. In the box: Write the values on the warranty card.
  2. After being laid out: Write the values on the warranty card.
  3. After being covered: Write the values on the warranty card.
  4. Record your readings in the installation manual.

When laying out the cable, DO NOT allow heating cables to touch, cross, overlap or get bunched up. Minimum allowable spacing is 2 inches.

Begin installation as close as possible to the electrical source.

Heated driveway with brick pavers

DO NOT cut or alter the heating cable. The white binding tape of heating mats may be cut in order to make turns with the mats, but the heat cable must never be cut or altered.

ClearZone heating cable in mat and rolled.

To secure the cable, lay down a piece of thin wire mesh that fits the area to be heated. The wire mesh should be secured to the ground (with landscaping staples or pins) so it will not move during the embedment process.

Roll out the heating cable or mat and secure it to the wire mesh or grid using plastic zip ties. Heating cables should be securely fastened so they do not move or shift during embedment.

Heating cable should be spaced at no less than 2-inches center-to-center and no more than 4-inches center-to-center. This also applies to the cables in adjacent heating mats.

Contact paver or block manufacturer for total sand or dust depth needed for proper paver/block installation.

Sideview of heat cable installed under pavers

Embed all of the heating cable and the splice in a minimum of 1-inch (½-inch above and ½-inch below) of compacted material such as paver sand or stone dust. Cable and splice must be completely embedded. No air gaps around the cable or splice are allowable. Gauge of paver sand, stone dust or base material must be fine enough to completely encapsulate cable.

Do NOT drop pavers directly on the cable. (This can damage the cable insulation.)  If this occurs, stop installation and check cable integrity via ohm reading.

Handle heating cables carefully – use extreme care with tools such as shovels, rakes and wheel barrels to avoid damaging the cables.

Verify cable integrity by checking resistance often during installation.

It is important that this equipment be installed by a licensed and qualified electrician and in accordance with local laws, codes, regulation and in accordance with NEC guidelines.

If installing in permeable pavers or with pavers or blocks greater than 3-inches thick, contact Warmzone BEFORE installing.

* This list is intended as a general quick reference guide. It is NOT a substitution for proper training and following the installation manual. Always read and follow the installation manual. Web-based training is available on request.

Heated paver walkway

For more information about installing heated driveways and paver snowmelt systems, visit Warmzone’s Installation Overviews web page. Warmzone also provides a host of radiant heat installation videos online as well. Call us today for more information at 888.488.9276.

Researching Radiant Heat and Finding the Right Provider

The Services and Resources to Look for When Considering the Installation of Radiant Heat

From the initial idea of adding radiant heat to your new or existing home to the actual purchase and installation can be somewhat intimidating for homeowners. Where do you start? What should you be looking for, and what are the options?

Judging from past customers, radiant heat is a proven, worthwhile investment that provides very efficient and luxurious warmth using clean renewable energy. Radiant heated floors continue to gain popularity because of their efficiency as well as the rich, comfortable heat that they produce.

Find a provider that includes complete system design services and a large selection of products and services – from different manufacturers. Warmzone is one provider that offers a dynamic range of radiant floor heating systems. Because of the diverse selection, Warmzone can evaluate your specific needs and recommend the system that will best meet your budget and heating demands. So, if you’re considering installing a heated floor, view Warmzone’s Floor Heating Overview web page to gain some general information about the different systems. Then call a Warmzone representative to discuss the various possibilities and the advantages of each system (888.488.9276). Our staff features experienced professionals who are happy to consult with prospective customers without any pushy sales pressure.

Heated driveway and radiant heat installation support

Warmzone includes professional installation support services.

And when it comes to customer service, you won’t find a provider that offers better customer services. Warmzone services include FREE installation training for installers, detailed system design and layout services, technical support, free consulting, and a wealth of online documentation, videos and information resources. We take pride in our unparalleled personal services as well as our industry leading products.

Warmzone snow melting systems are also among the very best available. Warmzone continues to be a leader in offering the latest technology with the most trusted and proven systems. Warmzone heated driveways and snow melting systems are easy to customize to match the budget and performance requirements of each customer.

ClearZone heat cable is the longstanding backbone of Warmzone’s exceptional snow melting systems. In addition to the heating element, Warmzone driveway heating systems also feature a contactor panel/controller and either a ground-mount snow sensor or an aerial mount sensor. These advanced activation devices detect precipitation and temperature, so when conditions warrant, the sensor triggers the system and the driveway begins to heat. The system continues to operate for a short time after the storm to ensure that the driveway is dry, eliminating slick, dangerous ice.

Fully automated, energy efficient, and featuring quiet, clean operation, Warmzone snow melting systems continue to be a favorite among contractors and professional installers.

For more information, call us at 888.488.9276 and speak with a radiant heat consultant. Also take advantage of our online information resources and view radiant heat installation videos, monthly newsletters, product literature and more. We think that the more you research and compare radiant heat companies, the more impressed you’ll be with Warmzone. Call or email us today for a free quote.

The Benefits and Custom Options of Heated Driveways and Snow Melting Systems

Radiant Heat Can be Tailored to Your Specific Needs and Budget

Heated driveway systems are surefire ways to enhance safety for businesses located in cold weather climates. From grocery stores to restaurants and car washes, business owners are turning to radiant heat to ensure safety and protect themselves from liability claims.

Warmzone radiant heat systems are fully automated, so there’s no need for business owners to show up at the workplace early to shovel snow. The automated systems activate when an aerial or ground-mount snow sensor detects precipitation and temperatures are below a set point (typically 39°F). The energy efficient snow melting systems operate only when needed, and are also maintenance free – another favorite feature among business owners.

Easy to Customize

Radiant snow melting systems are easy to customize. Electric snowmelt systems can be installed to heat unique shapes and areas, and can be tailored to best meet the client’s budget needs. In addition to heating entire driveways and sidewalks, some other popular layout options for heating driveways include:

Heating tire tracks: Rather than heating an entire driveway, install two 24-inch wide heated tire tracks.

Heated driveway with two heated tire tracks

Heating the Center Strip or High Traffic Areas: Heat only an 8 or 10-foot wide strip up the middle of the driveway. Or install heat cable only in the most trafficked area of your driveway. Heat trouble spots such as inclines or where shade often causes ice buildup. Instead of heating an entire sidewalk, just warm a 3-foot wide strip in the middle; or heat the steps and heavily trafficked areas of entry points and porches. Businesses often install radiant heat to melt snow and ice in parking areas and walkways near the store front as well as in loading docks and ramps.

Custom heated driveways and sidewalks

Heating specific/custom areas: Many consumers install radiant heat only for specific needs. For example, heat dog runs or kennels to keep outdoor pets comfortable, or only heat the sloped areas of a sidewalk or just the steps. The options are virtually limitless when it comes to installing heated driveways.

Heated cement steps

Visit Warmzone’s heated driveway web page for more detailed information. The information includes sections on how heated driveways work, determining the operating cost, how heated driveways work and more.

From small, custom snow melting projects to large commercial applications, radiant snow melting systems have proven to be the reliable, cost effective solution for homeowners and business owners alike.

Heated driveway and walks

Unlike other providers of radiant heat systems, Warmzone offers free installation training courses for installers, as well as complete system design and layout services and installation support. Dealing with Warmzone makes the process of finding and installing the best system easy for customers.

Information Resources: