Ice prevention - 4 questions


  #1  
Old 01-05-08, 06:47 AM
wisconsincraft's Avatar
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Nov 2002
Location: Central Wisconsin
Posts: 120
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Ice prevention - 4 questions

As most people with rain gutters on their homes (in the northern states) know, winter ice is a major problem and cause for concern. I'm speaking of "ice damns" caused by frozen gutters.

1. Does anyone know of a reliable and positive way to prevent ice from building up in the gutters?

2. Does anyone know if "gutter guards" (covers over the gutters) help to prevent ice from building inside the gutters?

3. Is there a manufacturer that makes a heated gutter guard?

4. Finally, is there a way to remove the already frozen ice in the gutters?
 
  #2  
Old 01-05-08, 10:03 AM
C
Member
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Erie, PA
Posts: 305
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
They sell heated gutters. I could have gotten them when I got my seamless gutters installed. I didn't because of the additional cost and the requirements to have the outlet available for installation.

Plus, I'm working on treating the cause of the ice, not the symptoms so it seemed like throwing away money.
 
  #3  
Old 01-05-08, 11:32 AM
wisconsincraft's Avatar
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Nov 2002
Location: Central Wisconsin
Posts: 120
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Chandltp

I'm working on treating the cause of the ice
Interesting.......... Not to sound sarcastic but how do you stop the snow and ice from forming on the roof when it's deposited there by nature?

I have opened and cleared away any ice/snow covering on the ridge vents and allowing maximum air flow under the roof.

We have 24" ove insulation in the ceilings, sofet vents and ridge vents with good air flow up and out. What would you recommend?
 
  #4  
Old 01-05-08, 11:52 AM
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: USA
Posts: 6,130
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Ice prevention - 4 questions

wisconsincraft -

As we all know, snow may fall, snow can melt into water and water can freeze when it gets out of the sun in the winter.

The most reliable method is to periodically pull the excess snow off the overhangs and let Mother Nature do her job. Of course, this assusmes you can get access to the roof from the ground with an aluminum snow puller. Usually only a once or twice a season project (30 minute maximum) since it is not necessary to remove everything to prevent ice dams.

The good thing is that it lets the sun work on opening up the lower part of the roof and provide better drainage for the snow on the upper part when it melts. Even on a sunny cold(zero) day, the sun will still open up a roof and let the gutters run until dark.

Of all the homes I have owned, I only had to resort to heat tapes for one valley that was protected and oriented to attaracted a lot of deep drifting. - This is based on Minneapolis/St. Paul that gets less snow than central Wisconsin, but is colder.
 
  #5  
Old 01-05-08, 02:47 PM
M
Banned. Rule And/Or Policy Violation
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Chicago
Posts: 1,011
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Originally Posted by wisconsincraft View Post
As most people with rain gutters on their homes (in the northern states) know, winter ice is a major problem and cause for concern. I'm speaking of "ice damns" caused by frozen gutters.

1. Does anyone know of a reliable and positive way to prevent ice from building up in the gutters?
There is only one thing I know of which will work 100% of the time: a properly designed and installed heating system comprised of commercial-grade variable resistance heating cables on the roof and in the gutters, and extending on down through the downspouts, leaders and extensions.

This is expensive, requires dedicated electrical circuits, is considered unsightly by some, but will absolutely eliminate ice dams and similar problems.

See for example:

http://www.rscc-heattrace.com/Reside...er-Deicing.htm
http://www.rscc-heattrace.com/SpecTe...asp?nCableID=3
 
  #6  
Old 01-06-08, 01:08 PM
C
Member
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Erie, PA
Posts: 305
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Originally Posted by wisconsincraft View Post
We have 24" ove insulation in the ceilings, sofet vents and ridge vents with good air flow up and out. What would you recommend?
I have no further recommendations. On houses that are properly sealed, insulated, and ventilated I have not seen the type of problems you are describing. That is what I'm working to achieve in my own house.

You must have weather patterns different enough from my own so that what I works in my area doesn't work in yours.
 
  #7  
Old 01-07-08, 12:56 PM
M
Member
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 1
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Freeze-thaw-freeze

I have the same problem. My house is very well insulated.

The problem is the freeze-thaw patterns. Basically the same patterns that cause pot holes.

If during the day it gets just warm enough to begin thawing then a cold snap hits and it freezes. This doesn't happen all winter long but enough to cause some worry.

The main spot of contention is where the roof is shaded from the sun so the temperature warms up enough to start thaw but then the temperature dips below freezeing again. Part of the roof that see sunlight have less of a problem.

-Markus
 
  #8  
Old 01-07-08, 01:29 PM
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: USA
Posts: 6,130
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Ice prevention - 4 questions

Freezing and periodic cold snaps are not really the problem. - The main problem is the snow accumualtion on the lower part of a roof.

Actually, the deep snow is a good insulator from radiant heat from the sun, which is always present.

I live in a townhouse (actually two story quads - 4 corner units per building). We have had more snow than in the past 5 years and due to the wind and temperatures, the accumulation in some areas was up to 24". - We do not get that much snow as people believe with and average of 45 inches and a maximum of 100 inches. Most people would like to see more.

The home owners association recently had the edges (4' back from the gutter) of the roofs cleaned for the second time in 5 years. The snow was not completely removed, but the decreased thickness allowed the sun to open up the edge areas (warmer than the rest of the roof because of absorbed radiant heat), although the area and gutters froze when the temperature went down. Within a couple of days the lower areas were clear, but some snow remained on the upper area, but that is not important because there is a drainage pattern available.

The weather in every area is different and there are local practices that do work for that area. If you really do not want a problem, go with a standing seam steel roof and enjoy the sound of the snow sliding off and dumping on your guests.
 
  #9  
Old 01-07-08, 05:47 PM
wisconsincraft's Avatar
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Nov 2002
Location: Central Wisconsin
Posts: 120
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
If you really do not want a problem, go with a standing seam steel roof and enjoy the sound of the snow sliding off and dumping on your guests.
I like this idea and particularlly the part where the snow falls on the guests


Thanks to all who have contributed. For the record, I removed the snow along the bottom edge of the roof(s) near the gutters.

In the last two days, the 24" plus snow that WAS on the roof has since melted down due to rain storms the past couple days. I also broke away the ice that covered the ridge vents. Things seems to be improving now but hopefully the ice damns will not get any worse the rest of this winter.

Then come spring, I can address the metal roof or heated gutter systems. Probably cheaper to heat the gutters than re-roof the entire house AGAIN (second time in 24 years).
 
  #10  
Old 01-07-08, 10:05 PM
T
Member
Join Date: Aug 2000
Location: USA
Posts: 15,816
Likes: 0
Received 1 Like on 1 Post
It's not only a matter of having adequate insulation, it's also a matter of sealing all gaps where warm air escapes from below the attic area into the attic. It's also a matter of having proper ventilation to allow the warm air to escape the attic. Warm air will heat the attic and roof below the snow and cause the snow to melt and icicles and ice dams to occur.
 
  #11  
Old 01-08-08, 04:53 AM
wisconsincraft's Avatar
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Nov 2002
Location: Central Wisconsin
Posts: 120
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
For the record, the ORIGINAL ice came from an untimely winter rain storm that created 2" of ice buildup on the roof followed by several inches of heavy snow that piled up to over 2 feet deep on the roof. As the outside temperatures started to raise, that snow began to melt down and eventually created lots of ice IN the gutters. You know the rest of the story.
 
 

Thread Tools
Search this Thread
 
Ask a Question
Question Title:
Description:
Your question will be posted in: