Are ugly zig zag heat cables or the radiant metal panels at the roof edge necessary to prevent ice dams?
For so many years, zig zag heat tape was all that could be done on the outside to prevent ice dams. And, they really didn't work that well. Barely melting channels in the dams of ice to allow water to flow out was sometimes effective. Mostly, it failed. Then came the much more effective radiant roof edge panels. These were made of extruded aluminum bases with colored aluminum or copper covers. The commercial grade heat cables were routed through the extruded aluminum and they transfer the heat very efficiently. Now, instead of just melting channels in the ice dams, it is possible to completely prevent them. You can see these products on our website - used on valleys and eaves.
Does ice dam prevention need to be visible?
It doesn't. In fact, some have offered the same technology used beneath bathroom floors to melt snow on the roof. Most of these systems required the removal of some or most of your roof shingles to be effective. Some of these systems have fallen out of favor for various reasons. What about the concept of a radiant panel of extruded aluminum that is invisible. The heated gutter guard that we install features an ice dam prevention system that doesn't need the gutter screen part. It is based off of the same proven heating panel that makes the VersaScreen IceBlaster work so well.
Pictured here are a couple of shots of the IceBlaster EMS (Edge Melt System) Hidden Heat. This was taken on our test facility. We have really run this one through the rigors. The one to the right shows a top down of the IceBlaster EMS Hidden Heat (EMS HH) from the top down. Shows the leading edge of the extruded aluminum panel with a black cover. Barely visible, yet effective. You can see the snow on the roof and a clean edge with no build up in the gutter. Experience has shown that this is what prevents ice dams. (Why do so many people still settle for zig zag heat cables.
You can also see here the system looking straight on. This picture was taken 6 hours after an 8 inch snow fall with rapidly dropping temperatures. We have let several inches of ice build up to see if it would clear - it did. We have let a half a foot of snow fall before turning it on - it caught up. Of course, we have higher power systems that can do better. But, with one run of heat cable in the panel and a nice neat appearance (or should we say a lack there of), the IceBlaster EMS HH is a real performer. And, with a much lower material and installation price, it is much more budget friendly than the two and three run of heat cable systems on the market.
You can have this on your home to prevent ice dams for the upcoming season. Contact us to find out more.