Roof Heaters

If your roof is plagued by ice dams, talk to your roofing contractor about installing a roof heater.  Ice dams occur when the snow over the warm main part of your roof melts, then re-freezes as it reaches the colder edge of your roof.  Ice dams are a threat to your roof and your home because they cause water to back up under your shingles and leak into your home.  Also, some water will freeze under the shingles causing further roof damage and leading to more water intrusion. 

In most cases, ice dam formation can be minimized by increased attic insulation and improved roof ventilation.  In some cases, the roof configuration is such that ice dams continue to form.

Removing any snowfall from the roof will also minimize ice dams, but climbing on the roof is dangerous, and even more so in icy conditions.  The permanent solution for chronic ice dams is to install a roof heater. 

Contrary to what the name implies, a roof heater does not heat the entire roof.  Instead, roof heaters are installed along the eaves and other cold, exposed areas of the roof to prevent ice from forming. 

Roof heaters are usually installed under the roofing materials so the best time to consider a roof heater is during a re-roofing.  There are some roof heaters that can be installed on top of roofing materials. 

The majority of roof heaters are electric and operate on 110 or 220 volts.  These systems use wires, tapes, or metal panels to deliver the heat.  Some roof heaters use warm water that flows through pipes laid along the edge of the roof. 

Your local roofing contractor can help you choose a roof heater that is right for your home.