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Roof Deicing - Frequently Asked Questions

General Information About Roof Heating Systems

Q. What is radiant roof heating?
A. Radiant roof deicing and gutter trace systems utilize radiant heat to warm the roof (or gutter) and eliminate snow and ice buildup. Radiant roof heating systems are fully automated and energy efficient. The systems feature a snow sensor that detects temperature and precipitation. When conditions warrant, the sensor signals the master control unit, which then sends power to the heating element.
Q. What roof deicing products are most recommended?
A. Roof deicing systems are available for just about any type of roof nd can be aeasily customized to meet your needs. Each has unique characteristics. Depending on your needs, the most highly recommended roof heating systems are list below:
  1. RoofHeat STEP for heating roof edges and valleys.
  2. Self-regulating heat cable for gutter and downspout deicing.
  3. Surface-mounted panels for heating roof edges (retrofit).
Q. When should I choose heat cables vs. other radiant heating methods?
A. While low-voltage RoofHeat STEP is a highly recommended roof deicing system, sometimes heat cable is the most viable method for certain applications.

Self-regulating heat cable is typically the most recommended solution for heating gutters and downspouts. It is highly effective and installed discreetly under the roofing. An ideal roof heating solution combines gutter melting cables with a roof deicing system. This protects the roof (and home) from damage caused from ice dams and also protects the gutters from damage due to heavy snow and dangerous icicles.

Q. What is RoofHeat STEP?
A. Low voltage RoofHeat STEP roof deicing systems consist of semi-conductive polymer heating elements, available in 4, 6, 9 and 12 inch widths, that are self-regulating and can be easily rolled out over the area to be heated. The flexible heating element is polypropylene fused during fabrication to achieve water proofing and protection from alkaline, salt damage, UV rays and other potential physical damages.

Because RoofHeat STEP is low-voltage, it can be stapled through, directly onto the roof decking. Nails can pierce the RoofHeat STEP heating element as long as the nails do not come in contact with any other metal objects or pierce the bus braids. Shingles are then secured with nails directly on top.

Q. Are roof deicing systems manually or automatically activated?
A. Roof deicing systems can be activated with an automatic gutter-mounted switch, a temperature sensor, or manual timer. Learn how roof deicing systems work.
Q. What are the power requirements for a roof deicing system?
A. The power requirements vary from system to system. Generally, cable zig zag systems require a 240V 20-amp breaker for every 265 feet of heating cable. For advanced low-voltage systems such as RoofHeat STEP, a 30-amp breaker would heat about 230 square feet of roof or eave.
Q. What is the General Operating Cost of a Roof Deicing System that Heats the Roof Valleys and Gutters?
A. The operation cost of heating roof gutters is relatively inexpensive. Much depends on the amount of heating cable and how cold the ambient temperature is. The cable is self regulating, meaning it will monitor itself and adjust power up or down as the temperature changes.
Q. What is the Average Cost of a Roof Deicing System?
A. Keep in mind that these are general prices (compliments of Warmzone in 2015).

Heating Roof Edges: 2-feet back – 45-feet long $2,295.00 – between $20-25/foot.

Heat Roof Valleys: $20-25/foot.

Roof Gutter Trace and Downspout Heating: $5.90/foot of heating cable (includes all connections, activation devices, and clips to secure to roof).
Q. What should I look for in a radiant heat provider?
A. Work with a company that sells directly to the end user and can guarantee you premium pricing. Make sure they house a staff of qualified professionals who can answer your questions and assist you in selecting the best system for your application. Other important services and “selling points” include:
  • ●  Offers free radiant heat quotes.
  • ●  Carries a large selection of proven products at competitive prices.
  • ●  Genuine, helpful and friendly customer service and free consulting.
  • ●  Designated support staff on hand that you can call during the installation.
  • ●  Ideally, find a provider that offers free installation training for installers.
  • ●  Personal installation support from a qualified radiant heat expert / electrician.
  • ●  Provides professional radiant heat system design and engineering services.
  • ●  Provides ample documentation as well as a wealth of radiant heat information online. Some providers may even have an online resource of installation and instructional videos. Documentation should include product guides, installation manuals, diagrams, illustrations, and technical specs, etc).