Does Utah have the best snow on earth? Probably. It’s the epicenter of Utah’s skiing and snowboarding that draws adventurers from around the globe. And why not. Utah is known for having the “greatest snow on earth”.
But ample snowfall may not always be a piece of good news for homeowners in Utah. Snowcapped mountains are one thing, and snowcapped rooftops are another. Wet and heavy snow can wreak havoc on your roof, causing expensive and irrecoverable damage. Worse still, it risks the safety and well-being of your family.
You can keep your roof and loved ones safe with ice melt roof systems. But before getting to the benefits of these systems, let’s first understand what damage snow can cause to your home.
Understanding the Most Common Types of Winter Roof Damage
Whether it is a new or a decade-old installation, the winter season is particularly challenging for all roofs. Winter roof damage is also one of the most expensive home repairs. You may have to thousands of dollars on getting your roof back in shape.
Let’s see five common types of winter roof damage.
1. Ice Dams
Ice dams are the worst nightmare for homeowners during the winter. Usually, an ice dam forms at the edge of the roof. It prevents the melting snow from draining off the roof, resulting in a myriad of problems.
Non-uniform roof temperature (attic condensation) often leads to ice dams. Three factors, including attic condensation, snow cover, and the outside temperature, work in tandem to cause ice dams. Once the dam sets, the continuing flow of snowmelt feeds it, increasing its size rapidly.
This puts significant pressure on your roof. The water backed up behind the dam may leak into your roof, insulation, attic, ceiling, and walls. The water builds up moisture, which creates a perfect breeding ground for mold and mildew. These can cause respiratory problems, among other health issues.
2. Risk of Roof Collapse
Snow is heavy, especially when wet. As these ice dams grow, snow buildup on your roof becomes heavy. When too much ice and snow accumulates on your roof, it increases the risk of your roof collapsing.
Each roof comes with a different snow load rating. If yours has a low rating, even light snow can cause it to buckle under pressure. It could be a portion of your roof or the entire structure.
Whatever happens, a collapsing roof is a serious safety hazard. It could fatally injure your loved ones. Plus, it is expensive property damage. Replacing the entire roof can set you back at least a few thousand bucks. While the national average to replace a roof is around $8,000, with most people spending anywhere between $5,500 and $11,000, many homes in Utah will far exceed that.
3. Roof Leaks
The ice buildup will put excessive pressure on your roof, leading to leaks, creaks, and sagging ceilings. Leaks can lead to moisture buildup in your insulation, attic, and ceiling. It almost always results in mold and mildew infestation.
However, a leaking roof is also a sign of potential roof collapse. Call a professional roofing expert right away if you:
- See leaks
- Hear creaking noises from the roof
- See a sagging ceiling
4. Broken Gutters and Downspouts
Ice can also build up inside your gutters and downspouts. The risk increases if you haven’t had a chance to clean the gutters before the winter season. Clogged rain gutters mean the rainwater can get trapped inside the gutters or downspouts.
This water freezes and expands as winter sets in. moreover, blocks of ice or icicles can get trapped in your rain gutters and downspouts. These can cause the gutters and downspouts to crack. In the worst-case scenario, your gutters will start pulling away from the roof and eventually collapse.
The cost of replacing an entire gutter system is more than cleaning it. So, consider hiring a professional gutter cleaning service to clean your gutters before the winter begins. Let the pros prepare your rain gutter and drainage system for the cold winter.
5. Wind Damage
In Utah, the winter season also brings its own fair share of strong wind storms. Blowing cold winds can loosen, break, or tear off your shingles. If the wind is strong enough, it can also rip off the flashing. You should contact a roofing expert to get everything fixed before the first snowfall.
Benefits of Installing Ice Melt Roof Systems
Although winter is a challenging season for your roof, it doesn’t have to be. Ice melt roof systems, also known as heat tape gutters, can protect your roof from the destruction caused by snow.
Plus, modern ice melt systems offer higher performance, require lower maintenance, and are relatively cost-effective. Heat tape gutters boast some great benefits. Let’s see what those are.
1. Say Goodbye to Shoveling (your Roof, at least)
No one likes to wake up early on a cold winter day and shovel the snow, especially if it’s on the roof. But in some areas of Utah like Park City, the snow may get deep enough that the weight becomes a serious issue. The hours of labor-intensive work will leave you cold, exhausted, and sore. Worse still, you might hurt yourself while shoveling.
Fortunately, ice melt roof systems provide a solution – at least around your gutters. Once installed, the system will keep the snow from accumulating on your roof. Most roof ice melt systems now come with automated controls. You don’t have to turn them on and off manually.
When the snowfall reaches the set threshold, your system will automatically turn on. It will heat the rooftop, melting the snow so that your roof remains safe. Installing heat tape gutters and scheduling their maintenance is just as easy. All you have to do is call a local expert.
2. Prevent Ice Dams
Ice melt systems help you eliminate the most dangerous threat – ice dams. You can install these systems at the edge of the roof. So, they start melting the snow as soon as it reaches the roof’s edge. There is no room for ice and snow buildup.
With no risk of ice dams, you can avoid many problems such as mold and mildew, leaks, creaks, and sagging ceilings. All of this translates into complete peace of mind throughout the winter season.
3. Protect Your Landscaping
Yes, salting is an effective way to melt the snow. However, snow salt often consists of chemicals that can cause damage to your garden, vegetation, lawn, and other areas of the landscape.
On the other hand, Heat tape gutters melt the snow without leaving any chemical footprint. As the name suggests, they use heat to melt the snow. So, the snowmelt runoff has little to no environmental impact.
4. Enjoy Increased Safety
Unchecked snow and ice buildup lead to icicles. While they look pretty, icicles are a safety hazard. They can inflict injuries serious enough to require hospitalization. Besides, snow-covered driveways and stairs are a slip and fall hazard.
Installing ice melt systems is an excellent way to reduce this risk. With these systems working spontaneously, your steps, porches, entryways, pathways, and driveways will remain free of ice.
5. Lower the Risk of Property Damage
Ice melt roof systems can also help reduce the risk of property damage. For starters, these systems prevent ice dams from ruining your roof. With ice dams out of your way, it becomes a lot easier to prevent other winter-related property damages like:
- Rainwater damage
- Rotting walls, ceiling, attic, furniture
- Mold, fungus, and mildew
- Broken shingles and roof tiles
- Leaks and creaks
- Sagging ceilings and attics
- Broken rain gutters, downspouts, and drainage lines
- Cracks in foundation
6. Save Money
With increased safety and reduced property damage, you will be able to save considerable money down the line. Besides, the cost of installing and maintaining ice melt systems is negligible compared to the cost of replacing your roof or rain gutters.
Modern roof ice melt cables come with the ability to customize energy output. In other words, you can manage the amount of heat needed to melt ice. This optimizes your energy consumption, lower utility costs, and improves your carbon footprint.
In Utah, snowfall comes with its own challenges, especially for homeowners. Keeping the snow and ice away from your roof is easier said than done. However, it is possible to curb the problems arising from ice dams and excessive snow with ice melt systems. Hopefully, after understanding these six unique benefits, you will consider installing an ice melt roof system on your roof.
If you need help with ice melt roof system installation or repair, Ace Gutter is just a phone call away. Call us at (801) 676-1048 or fill out our secure online contact form to schedule an appointment today!