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Snow/ice melt for eaves and gutters?

ALH_4 Member Posts: 1,790
How about 3/8" Thinfin-C on top of the SIP's in those areas then fill in with plywood/osb and roof over that?

Never done it on a SIP roof, but it works on a standard roof.


  • Don \"Grumpy\" Walsh
    Don \"Grumpy\" Walsh Member Posts: 184
    Need a few suggestions........

    I have a need to design a snow and ice melt system for the valleys and internal gutters on an all copper roof. This must be a hydronic/glycol system, electric is not an option. Roof panels are 12" SIP's, gutters are 6" deep by 6" wide at the bottom. Lengths vary from 12' to 48'. This will be tied into the snow/ice melt system for the suspended paver covered decks and the 15,000 sq ft driveway system. Have any of you done such a thing in the past? Did you use copper pipe or PEX? I have no problem with the decks and the driveway areas, but the roof valleys and gutters are causing a bit of "brain strain". Your comments will be VERY welcome.
  • Ken_40
    Ken_40 Member Posts: 1,320
    A 12\" SIPS roof

    might not require ANY melting!

    Mine just went thru an entire winter (although I opted for the standing seam roofing on tar-paper on top of 12" SIPS) with no issues whatsoever.

    I have gutters on one alcove, about 16 L.F. (8' per each leg) In typical VT fasion, no other gutters are installed.

    Nothing like making ice and snow go to 33F and having it drip on anything at 31F. Ice stalagtites/cicles are a major danger.

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  • Mike Thomas_2
    Mike Thomas_2 Member Posts: 109

    I would think that if the building were properly insulated, you should not have any problem with ice on the roof. Maybe a little more info as to design problems might help me visualize what you are trying to acheive.
  • Christian Egli_2
    Christian Egli_2 Member Posts: 812
    It's good snow actually melts

    Good reasons for melting roof snow is if you'd get a flood whenever the drain holes freeze - this is a particular problem on roofs that don't clear the walls and parts of the roof that remain in the shade. Valleys that turn into lakes are a catastrophe well worth the BTU for melting.

    Another very good (and very scary) reason is if the roof isn't built strong enough for the weight of maximum snow + reroof + ponding lake + newer AC work in the attic.

    I know of a bunch of roofs around here that are piped for melting. All done in steam, most simply by dangling a steel pipe up and down the valleys and gutters on the underside of the roof. The steam risers parallel the internal downpours. Roofs where the scheme was abandoned have gotten into costly leak repairs.

    With water, I would stay away from the copper piping. Even with glycol, you can't guarantee that it won't be just water one day. Copper pipes don't resist even the slightest frost, and it freezes first and fast right up under the roof. I've had my fill of busted copper pipes within ceiling spaces. Plastic is much safer -though not foolproof. Double piping makes the leaks drain to somewhere manageable, this is handy in domestic water applications, for heat transfer it is not as good.

    Also, for safety, keep the attic loop shut off from the water main - in case it does freeze and bust you won't have a sprinkler.

    This application is really well suited for steam where you can keep traps all the way downstairs where they won't typically freeze.

  • hr
    hr Member Posts: 6,106
    snow sheer was the biggest

    issue we had with metal roofs in snow country. Plumbers would come in from California and poke all the plumbing vents out at the easiest place.

    Spring rolls around and that mass of snow slides and breaks all the vents, or any low on the pitch penetration. Even B vents would rip from the roof! A costly mistake.

    The old a frame ski lift towers at Alta Utah had to be shoveled out ocassionally to prevent the snow sheer from ripping them off the mountain side. Talk about a hatefull job. I've seen 10 feet of snow around those towers.

    Many of the lodges had snow hooks on the roofs to prevent those roof slide from killing guests as they walked below.

    Gutters were really not an option in heavy snow country I don't know of any attachment method or amount of BTU that would protect expensive gutters like that.

    hot rod

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  • Mike E_2
    Mike E_2 Member Posts: 81
    My idea is to use Onix

    I am eventually planning on doing the same thing to my house one day. I have a problem with a gutter over the picture window/door leading to the second floor patio where I keep the grill during the winter months. The gutter is is only about 3 inches above the top of the door so when the icicles start to hang down about 12 to 24 inches, I can't open the door. The door is also the second fire escape for the upstairs bedrooms, so it really needs to be functional.

    Anyways, my idea is to run Onix tubing through the gutters connected to the boiler through a flat plate exchanger. From what I've read the Onix is UV resistant and is flexible enought to withstand a possible freeze-up.

    That is probably the best thing to use in that situation.

  • Don \"Grumpy\" Walsh
    Don \"Grumpy\" Walsh Member Posts: 184

  • Don \"Grumpy\" Walsh
    Don \"Grumpy\" Walsh Member Posts: 184
    Some Pix

    I have about 20 different planes to this roof. In the pictures you can see the multitude of roofing angles by following the angle of the steel beams on the roofline. While it is going to be a standing seam copper roof, there are a few valleys that will trap snow and ice. Gutters and downspouts will be integral to the roof construction, so keeping them clear is going to be mandatory. With all the different roof lines, we can't have snow and ice building up only to crash down on people and things below. I have been thinking of using "quick-trak" under the copper in the valleys, but the gutters are another problem. No easy method of getting enough tubing under the copper trough to assure melting.
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