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Roof Snow Melt Radiant Suggestions

Rick Kelly_3
Rick Kelly_3 Member Posts: 47
Consider why you would want to melt snow off the roof. A foot or two of dry snow makes for some good insulation from very low temps and wind. Doing it for the reason of keeping the roof snow free doesn't make a lot of sense. Electric snowmelting cable doesn't attempt to melt all the snow off a roof either. Properly installed, it is meant to prevent situations where natural drainage is hindered by ice dams formed at soffitts that are at the outer edge of the house's heat envelope. Heating cable is used at soffitt edges, valleys, gutters, and downspouts to allow melted water a clear channel to drain. Think of that concept instead of an entire roof melting system. We have done some roof melting that used copper flashing with small diameter copper tubing soldered within gutters, downspouts, and flashing edges. Very effective, less extensive, and installation and operating costs are reasonable.


  • Big Idahoan
    Big Idahoan Member Posts: 43
    Roof Snowmelt Radiant

    We are working on a custom cabin by Yellowstone Park. The homeowners have put radiant throughout. Where this is a vacation home they are concerned about snow accumulation on their roof. It has dormers and several valleys that are of particular concern. They have asked about the feasibility of putting a radiant snowmelt system in the attic. Have any of you done this before? What is the best way to transfer heat to the roof? We are considering using staple up plates or onix tubing. Do you think we will need to insulate the trusses under the tubing? We were also thinking of installing Tekmar sensors to automatically turn on the system when there is moisture detected. Any suggestions you guys have on this would be greatly appreciated.
  • Uni R
    Uni R Member Posts: 663

    What's wrong with a properly pitched roof? A nicely pitched metal roof with no gutters and whoosh... off it goes. A second solution would be to hire someone for $50 any time it looks bad enough that the snow should be pulled off. The only way I could see a snowmelt system being a good thing is if you went all the way and used it for heating the DHW once the snow is clear and the roof surface temperature rises above the incoming water temperature.
  • Paul Pollets
    Paul Pollets Member Posts: 3,656
    I'd be using

    Orbit Alcatel heating cable, which is designed for roof snow melt applications. It can be thermostatically controlled, and there's no risk of pipe freeze or glycol maintainence.

    Do you deal with Chris Rorke at Blueline Supply? He's in Jackson Hole, Wy, and a good friend. BTW, he's also one of the best technical guys in N. America.

    To Learn More About This Professional, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Professional"
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